HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Business is booming these days at the Clarios plant in Holland.
In 2021, the company brought in about $9 billion in revenue: That’s about 150 million batteries a year. The company says one out of every three vehicles in the world has a Clarios battery under the hood.
Clarios opened their doors to the media Tuesday for a tour.
The company opened the Holland facility in 2008. Originally part of Johnson Controls, the company was sold in 2019 to a private equity firm.
Today, the plant produces a variety of batteries for vehicles.
The batteries the company makes don’t move the cars, like the large-scale electric vehicle batteries. Instead, it makes batteries that help power components that improve efficiency, safety and comfort in your ride of choice.
“We have the capabilities to produce any style battery here. But our focus is on the low-voltage side, which is very important to for the future of vehicles in the coming years,” Clarios CEO Mark Wallace said.
A lot has changed over the years.
“Everything from emission reduction technology, such as stop-start technology, or just more infotainment on board the vehicle, that low voltage network need to have a higher power requirement,” Wallace said.
Among the debates when it comes to electric vehicles: What happens when the batteries reach their life expectancy? And not just the large batteries that help move the vehicles: Holland’s Clarios produces low-voltage batteries.
“As the vehicles evolved, the need on that low-voltage network has gone up significantly,” Wallace said.
As the demand for electric vehicles continues to grow, questions remain. Like can the power grid keep up with that demand?
Consumers Energy says yes, as long as EV owners charge up at night, when demand is down.
Another question: what happens at the end of the road for an EV’s battery life?
“There’s some dangerous stuff. But also, that battery from a large vehicle, or from a traction battery, is high voltage. It’s also dangerous,” Wallace said.
He says Clarios has long concentrated on reusing the batteries it produces and 99% of the lead acid batteries they make are recycled.
He thinks they can develop long term solutions for larger EV batteries.
“So now were going to take that capability we have, working with the likes of other companies and the department of energy, to find a solution to make sure lithium batteries don’t end up somewhere in a junkyard but end up 100% recycled and turned into new batteries as well,” Wallace said. “Virtually everyone in the world, from governments to regulators to automaker, are looking for ways to make sure that doesn’t happen. We’re going to be a key source to help figure that out.”