Responding to the consumer

At Johnson Controls we recognize that the automotive market has shifted. Consumers are demanding smaller vehicles with better fuel economy, without having to sacrifice features. To achieve this we needed to rethink the small car experience. 

That thinking is expressed in re3--a smart environment intended to

  • rethink…the interior through innovative engineering
  • renew…with sustainable solutions
  • respond…by generating consumer appeal


The result? By rethinking small, the re3 helps you get more mileage...inside your vehicles too.


Using our VPP process

The challenge and the opportunity of a small car interior is frankly, that it is small. 

To improve the interior experience, we followed our process called Value Product Planning (VPP). It challenges us to look at things from a clean sheet perspective and helps us make decisions about what is most appropriate. 

With re3, we gave ourselves some requirements. It must 

  • be a plug-in hybrid that fits five.
  • significantly reduce mass and optimize cost.
  • provide a rich feature set within an environment that feels spacious.
  • be developed globally and customizable for markets around the world.


With those requirements, we got to work.



Centered in the vehicle

Perhaps the most critical decision we made was the first one. This was going to be a lithium ion plug in series hybrid battery – “plug in” meaning you could charge it at home; “series hybrid” – it could be packaged flexibly and work synergistically with the engine; “lithium ion” – more power and storage longevity per cell.

In the re3, we required that the interior support an active lifestyle. That meant storage was a critical factor. So rather than package the battery in the trunk, we put it in the center of the vehicle between the two axles. To fit five, it could only extend to the back of the front seat. The battery is bottom mounted for safety and easy accessibility. It has 96 cells to travel at least 20 miles one way on full battery power, and has a liquid cooled Thermal Management System.


Lighter weight, natural look

At Johnson Controls we’re committed to sustainability. Our research shows a growing consumer desire to express environmental stewardship in their vehicles. re3 provides significant mass reduction, renewable materials, and smart features that enable efficiency – all in an effort to renew our environment. 

The plug-in series hybrid lithium ion battery is the most obvious sustainable solution in this vehicle. But there’s more – on the surface of things. In the cockpit and the door panels, we’ve designed what is typically the under surface to be the front surface. In this case, the natural, press-wood look is exposed, giving it a handsome organic feel. Eliminating the front-surface contributes to the 30% reduction in mass that the re:3 achieves.


Found space in the cockpit

At Johnson Controls we respond in re3 to the latest consumer demands with compelling HMI, redefined seating architecture, unprecedented levels of storage, and unique packaging of our lithium-ion battery module – all within a small-car environment.

Because of our EcoSpace IP technology, we are able to open up the cockpit area with a structure that safely allows for a large storage compartment across the front of the cockpit – great for storage and convenience.


Conversational seating

Sometimes you travel alone, but with this vehicle you can travel with up to five. How can you make a smart environment to facilitate the needs of any of these combinations?

Believe it or not, it started with the gas tank. We realized that if we reduced the gas tank size, we would leave room for a rear seat to flip up and fold. Now the front seat could slide back further to facilitate a more inclusive conversation with the rear passenger or to attend to a baby. We call this engineering innovation “Conversational Seating.”

It’s enabled by our world-class MS Generation 1.7 structures and Roll Form tracks – part of our Core Product Portfolio seen on more than 14 million vehicle seats globally to date. And with all of this moving around, our riACT™ head restraint system meets all safety regulations. That’s how we keep the conversation going in re3.


Extended Cluster & Seat Wing

Through Johnson Controls Human Machine Interaction (HMI) approach, we can maximize the user experience while providing other benefits in the vehicle. In re3 we eliminated the center stack, reducing the number of switches and freeing up the space. We then integrated Johnson Controls feature sets that include Mobile Device Gateway and Mobile Commerce, into what we call an “extended cluster.” There is also a complementary physical interface for HVAC that is in a seat-wing on the driver’s seat.

The extended cluster provides an intuitive way to personalize and regulate electronic information. The display to the right of the cluster pair makes menu selection a simple touch and flick. This information transfers to the nearby digital cluster to reprioritize information based on the driver’s hierarchy of needs. The connection is completed as the digital and the analog clusters interact. Close by, the seat-wing provides the most often used controls for HVAC and music, all within easy reach of both the driver and passenger.



  • 96 cell lithium-ion battery system
  • Capacity 22 amp-hour
  • Discharge power > 50 kW
  • Voltage operating range from 240V to 400V
  • Temperature operating range from -30°C to 50°C 
  • Cell and system-level electronics for monitoring and control
  • Packaged for low center of gravity and maximum impact protection
  • Active battery cooling to maintain optimal operating conditions 



Instrument Panel

  • Exposed natural material surfaces create an environmentally friendly appearance
  • Eliminating the cover material on the natural substrates contributes to a 30% mass reduction


  • Overhead System achieves a mass reduction of 30%
  • Headliner substrate with natural material content is lightweight and acoustically absorbent
  • Functional Film Console reduces part count and complexity
  • C-Lab Visor is lighter than conventional visors
  • Fabric covered garnish trim is 50% less weight than an injected part



  • Exposed natural material surfaces create an environmentally friendly appearance
  • Eliminating the cover material on the natural substrates contributes to a 30% mass reduction


EcoSpace IP structure is lightweight and provides more storage volume

  • This innovative cockpit structure replaces the traditional cross car beam with a hybrid (plastic/metal) construction. By increasing part integration this structure generates weight and cost benefits. Mass is reduced by up to 26%
  • Mass optimization is created focusing the steel structure on the driver side with a lower mass plastic structure on the passenger side
  • Enables more variations of the panel to support a platform strategy of various designs based on the same structure



Anticipated availability: model year 2012


Extended Cluster

  • Extended cluster with simulated capacitive touch panel display
  • Two digital TFT displays:
  • Display 1: 4.3” WVGA. Fuel Economy/Efficiency info, Speed, Hairline tubeless pointer, Battery Charge, Fuel info
  • Display 2: 7” WVGA. Touch Screen: At-a-glance driver-centric information, self explanatory drag´n drop information configuration, 5 main menus & sub-menus: Music, Phone, Message, Navi, Vehicle Info, Touch Panel display for HVAC, radio and other communication menus, touch-and-click operated
  • Mobile Device Gateway
  • Mobile Commerce with Card Reader
  • USB connector
  • Traditional analog information: Speedometer, Fuel/ battery state, Telltales



Interface with HVAC, music management


Front Row Driver Seat

  • Slim Seat Solution Set for the MS Hybrid Structure
  • Laser Tailor Welded MS Back Frame side members and Gemini Adjuster B-Brackets
  • DR2K Recliner (available with EZ-Entry actuator to improve ingress / egress)
  • Gemini Manual Rails with through bolting (Gen 1.7 )
  • Gemini Power Height Adjuster (Gen 1.7)
  • riACT™ Head Restraint (w/ pyrotechnic or electro-mechanical actuator)
  • VT™ Foam with natural oil polyol
  • Compression Molded Shields and Back panel
  • Inboard Functional Seat Wing for easier access to controls


Front Row Passenger Seat (unique items)

  • Conversation seat: slides rearward to create access to second row occupant
  • Johnson Controls Proprietary Manual Adjuster using Roll Form Track Sections like Gemini (Gen 1.7)


Second Row

  • Slim stadium rear seat, 60/40, HL / LL 2.0 (Flangeless Modular back frame) 2nd row
  • VT Foam to accentuate thin package
  • FMVSS 202a compliant rear HR

source: Johnson Controls