GLENDALE, CA – Mary Ann Wright, the former chief engineer for the Ford Escape hybrid, is now leading Johnson Controls Inc.’s effort to become a world leader in development of hybrid battery systems, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Johnson Controls is the biggest seller of lead-acid batteries in the world, but all of the batteries used in hybrid vehicles on the road today were made in Japan.

In her new role, Wright has worked to integrate the technology being developed by France-based Saft with the auto-parts manufacturing experience of Johnson Controls. The joint venture now has three production contracts, with Mercedes, the Chinese automaker Chery, and an unidentified automaker, as well as a dozen or more development contracts.

Because of widespread interest in hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrids as a strategy to reduce reliance on imported oil and address global warming, Wright has also been called to testify in Congress about hybrid battery development.

Wright said that Congress should implement carbon mandates, which would drive infrastructure development.

Originally posted on Fleet Financials