Bosch CEO: “Electric cars are good, but connected electric cars are better”
- Electrification will take combustion engines to new heights
- Falling battery prices will halve costs by 2020
- 15 percent of new cars worldwide to be at least a hybrid by 2025
- Europe’s most successful electric vehicle is about enjoyment
Powertrain electrification is picking up pace. The currently low oil price will not change that fact. This was the message underlined by Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, at the Car Symposium in Bochum, Germany. Bosch expects roughly 15 percent of all new cars built worldwide to have at least a hybrid powertrain by 2025. For the Bosch CEO, advances in battery technology are the key to lower vehicle prices. Denner, whose responsibilities on the board of management include research and advance development, believes that by 2020 batteries will deliver twice as much energy density for half the present cost.
Electrification enhances the attractiveness of combustion engines
The EU has set strict fleet CO2targets for 2021. For this reason alone, Bosch expects hybrid powertrains to become the standard for SUVs. This will give diesel and gasoline engines an extra boost. “Electrification will take combustion engines to new heights,” Denner said. With electric support, the combustion engines of the future will consume significantly less fuel and be even cleaner. And the additional torque from the electric motor will add to driving enjoyment. Moreover, falling battery prices will make hybrids considerably more affordable.
Denner used the example of China to show how important it is in a mass market for electric cars to be suitable for everyday use. There are already more than 120 million electric scooters on China’s roads. And in China, Bosch sells the electric wheel hub drive for such e-scooters. With a top speed of 25mph, this popular form of transport is fast enough for the traffic conditions in megacities.
And their range of roughly 30 miles is sufficient for everyday journeys. “The reason these two-wheelers are such a success is that they are a perfect match for Chinese commuters’ needs,” Denner said. And because they are designed to meet these needs, many models are less expensive than two-wheelers with combustion engines. According to Denner, the task now is to make such tailor-made solutions possible for cars as well.
One app to recharge the battery, nationwide
The main factor helping to make electromobility convenient will be connecting vehicles with the internet of things. “Electric cars are good but connected electric cars are better,” Denner said. At the moment, recharging vehicles is complicated. But this is expected to become much more convenient. Bosch Software Innovations, the Bosch Group’s software and systems unit, has developed an app that makes it significantly easier to reserve the charge spots of different providers and pay for the electricity. Up to now, doing this would have required a different customer card for each provider. Now all drivers need is a smartphone, the app, and a PayPal account to recharge anywhere in Germany. Bosch also complements this with a software platform that links 80 percent of all charge spots in Germany. As this example shows, Bosch no longer sees itself solely as a supplier of automotive components. The company is now combining its expertise in all three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and will in the future be offering its customers integrated mobility solutions.
Fun as a reason to buy: e-bikes show the way
However, rational arguments alone are not enough to win drivers over to electric powertrains. In Bosch’s view, emotion and fun play a decisive role. The example of e-bike drives illustrates this. Bosch’s “electric tailwind” makes riding a bike a joy – for serious athletes as well as recreational cyclists. Bosch is now the European market leader in this area, and its e-bike drives feature in more than 50 bike brands. “The e-bike is the most successful electric vehicle in the EU,” Denner said, adding that customers pay considerably more on average for e-bikes than they do for classic ones. “For more than 100 years, riding a bike was a mechanical process. No one saw any reason to change it. Then along came the e-bike, and completely redefined a market everyone thought would never change,” Denner said. The same could be true for the auto industry, he added. The Bosch CEO stressed that the supplier of technology and services will be using its comprehensive systems and connectivity know-how to take electromobility a decisive step forward.
Contact: Sabrina Mayeen, 44 (0) 1895 838813
Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. According to preliminary figures, its 2014 sales came to 33.3 billion euros, or 68 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. Mobility Solutions largely operates in the following areas: injection technology for internal-combustion engines, alternative powertrain concepts, efficient and networked powertrain peripherals, systems for active and passive driving safety, assistance and comfort functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as car-to-car and Car2X communication, and concepts, technology, and service for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.
The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. According to preliminary figures, its roughly 290,000 associates generated sales of 48.9 billion euros in 2014. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2014, Bosch applied for some 4,600 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s strategic goal is to deliver innovations for connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”
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