Bosch adjusts course for future mobility requirements

May 20, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
With the increasing significance of networked services for the individual traffic of the future, automotive supplier Robert Bosch GmbH is re-defining its role in the automotive value chain. At its biennial Motorpresse Kolloquium press event, the company set the course to an individual mobility that is not necessarily based on the automobile alone.

The new concept of the Swabian giant (worldwide more than 200.000 employees, 128 manufacturing sites and 59 R&D labs for the automotive activities alone) aims at future-proof interconnected traffic systems – systems that enable users to remain mobile even under even under the conditions of global urbanisation, environmental restrictions an ageing population.

To visualise the shift of emphasis, Bosch re-baptised its automotive technology branch to “Mobility Solutions”, which transports a more neutral and application-oriented approach. In his keynote speech Mobility Solutions CEO Rolf Bulander illustrated the company’s intentions. “We have to look beyond the engine bonnet”, he said. “We already supply more than brake and fuel injection systems. We provide systems for the entire scope of mobility which includes systems that enable and secure the interplay of cars with other modes of transport and with the infrastructure”.

According to Bulander, the reality of future mobility will manifest itself somewhere between two extreme scenarios: Scenario one, dubbed “Fun for Everyone” is characterised by the continuation of the current model with some additional ingredients such as internet connectivity. Scenario two, called “Ecologial Globalisation” calls for a world full of megacities that see the need to restrict individual mobility for environmental reasons. To enable individual mobility as far as possible, Bulander believes that connectivity, automated driving and electrification will play a pivotal role. Plus, these elements are compatible with both future scenarios – with fun and ecology, the manager advertised.

In this context, Bulander unfolded Bosch’s roadmap in front of the journalists. Key points are:

  1. By 2020, the cost level for traction batteries will fall by 50 %. The company is firmly focused on lithium-ion technology; Bulander ruled out alternative materials. According to Bosch, fuel cells face inadequate infrastructure and high cost.
  2. In the same time frame, the company expects that the number of charging stations worldwide will grow by the factor of ten compared to the level of 2013. Thus, Bosch expects that in 2020 a million charging stations will be up and running worldwide, laying the foundation for significant growth for the electromobility sector.
  3. By 2025, 15 percent of all new vehicles will have some kind of electric drive, which includes HEVs and PHEVs
  4. Nevertheless, the internal combustion engine will continue to be the most popular means of propulsion; Bosch believes that within five years, the fuel efficiency of diesel engines can be improved by another 10 percent, of gasoline engines by 20 percent.