Bosch stresses high costs for lower fuel consumption

April 25, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Is there still headroom for internal combustion engines with better fuel efficiency? Yes, says automotive electronics supplier Bosch. But at a price: It increasingly will require high development costs to squeeze out an extra kilometre of a litre of fuel. At the international engine symposium in Vienna, Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said "From our perspective it is crucial to consider the further development of the power train under the aspect of cost effectiveness".

Further fuel efficiency improvements are possible, Denner said - but the development will trigger additional costs. Currently the company is developing technological solutions to reduce the fuel consumption and thus the carbon footprint. Today, compact cars with state-of-the-art technology meet the target values. The most advanced diesel engines emit 81 grams of CO2 per kilometre, compared to 99 grams of CO2 for the best gasoline engines. Thus, the EU emission target values for 2020 are either already accomplished or they are within reach. Electronic controls with sophisticated sensors and algorithms are the precondition for a further improvement in fuel efficiency.

In the automotive middle class, Bosch is working on clean, efficient yet affordable engines. To reach this goal, new components are required. Examples are systems capable of recuperating kinetic energy otherwise wasted during braking. These systems also have to be designed in a way to easily allow an electrification of the powertrain. In this category, the ambitioned EU target value for 2020 can be met, if further efforts will be applied.

Many carmakers benefit from the development in the compact and compact class. The better the fuel efficiency in the hot-selling compact class, the easier is it to compensate the emissions of gas-guzzling SUVs. In the luxury class however, a mere optimization of the internal combustion engine is not sufficient to reduce the CO2 goals. Car designers also need to activate the efficiency potential that lies in the driving resistance and weight. In parallel, Bosch is developing highly efficient plug-in hybrids featuring a driving range of up to 60 kilometres solely on electric power. Such systems enable even SUVs to reach more favourable consumption values. However, these developments will drive costs in this segment higher, Denner warned. On the upside, the additional torque contributed by the electric engine will add to a more sportier feeling and thus increase the fun of driving.

Bosch also believes that the utilization of natural