Bosch anticipates that electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles will take almost a 3% share of the global new car market in 2020. Source: Bosch. Click to enlarge.

Following the market launch of Bosch parallel full-hybrid technology (earlier post) in the Porsche Cayenne S and Volkswagen Touareg hybrids, the company is increasingly investing in the development of powertrain technologies for all-electric vehicles.

Every year, Bosch makes some €400 million (US$507 million) available for development work on powertrain electrification. Bosch has already established a complete product portfolio for hybrid and electric powertrains including core components such as the power electronics, high-torque electric motors and chargers. Work is underway to prepare series production of power electronics components in Reutlingen and of electric motors in Hildesheim.

Out of an estimated 103 million newly produced vehicles in 2020, Bosch expects to see electric cars and plug-in hybrids take approximately a 3% share (3 million units), while conventional hybrids take almost a 6% share (6 million units). However, the company cautions, these figure may vary depending on future legal requirements, rising fuel prices, and progress in battery technology.

Going forward, the objective now is to reduce the weight and installation space of these components and increase their efficiency, so as to achieve as great a range as possible on the basis of the battery capacity available.

—Dr. Matthias Küsell, head of development for electric vehicle and hybrid systems


Bosch areas of e-mobility development. Source: Bosch. Click to enlarge.

With these products, plus the lithium-ion batteries that are developed in the SB LiMotive joint venture set up with Samsung, Bosch is now in a position to supply the entire electric powertrain—from the energy storage medium to the electric motor.

PSA Peugeot Citroën and Bosch have formed an engineering alliance to develop diesel hybrids with electric four-wheel drive, which will go into series production in 2011. For these vehicles, Bosch is developing and manufacturing the power electronics and electric motors. Further projects are in the pipeline of the Hybrid and Electric Vehicle business unit, which Bosch established in 2009.

SB LiMotive Targets for 2015
Price ~€350/ kWh
Pack capacity 35 kWh
Pack price ~€12,000
Cycle life 1,500 – 2,000
Weight (kg)

Some 800 Bosch associates worldwide develop technologies for hybrid and electric vehicles. In addition, there are the roughly 650 associates in the SB LiMotive joint venture, who are further developing lithium-ion battery technology for use in the automobile. Large-scale series production of battery cells to begin in 2011.

BMW is the first customer of the joint venture, which was set up in 2008. This German automaker will purchase the battery cells for the purely electrically driven Megacity Vehicle from SB LiMotive.

Bosch is also investing in other automotive components and systems to support hybrid and electric powertrains. This include efficient auxiliary units, such as electric power steering; braking and ESP systems tailored to hybrid and electric vehicles; and thermal management for the heating and cooling systems in the electric vehicle, or navigation systems that compute the optimum route in terms of fuel efficiency.

To explore and create the environment needed for electromobility, Bosch is working together with other companies in three government-funded projects that cover the major areas of electromobility development: “eperformance” deals with the electric vehicles themselves; “MeRegio-Mobil” deals with the integration of the electric vehicle into a future (battery charging) infrastructure; and “BeMobility” deals with testing new mobility services.