A new plug-in hybrid concept from an automotive interior designer shows what is possible when conventional ideas are challenged.

There is a good chance you have never heard of Johnson Controls. The 123-year-old company, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has designed seats, interiors, electronics, and other new technologies for most major automakers.

Now, they are bringing their own concept car to the public. The Johnson Controls re3 has been designed to show off their latest innovations for small cars. re3 stands for "rethink, renew, and respond," refering to realistic reactions to reproaches, revisited and reappraised, then rendered with realistic replies.

The re3 is a plug-in hybrid with batteries stored in between the two front seats. This results in a lower center of gravity, while freeing up space in the back seats and rear compartment. At the same time, the instrument panel is surrounded with storage spaces while being composed of weight reducing materials. Not only is it more convenient for passengers, it also reduces weight of the panel by more than 25% and costs less to produce. Also included is a gauge cluster intermingled with a new 7-inch color touch screen.

Slim seats in the front have better vibration dampening foam and a sturdier head restraint system. In the back, stadium-style folding seats accomodates three rear passengers. Folding seats also mean the front passenger can slide his or her seat almost all the way into the back row, making interaction between passengers easier.

Everything about the car has been designed with the idea of "reducing weight, optimizing cost and providing sustainable solutions that generate consumer appeal." The company also focused their attention on "human machine interaction (HMI), comfort and interior ambiance."

The attention to detail and creativity seen in the Johnson Controls re3 makes us hope they will begin designing their own cars soon.

Gallery: Johnson Controls re3 Concept next generation small car environment