Mobility Solutions

New approaches to efficiency: Bosch reduces fuel consumption in commercial vehicles by up to 15 percent Presentation by Dr. Bernd Bohr,
Chairman of the Bosch Automotive Group,

at the press conference for the IAA Commercial Vehicles
in Hannover, September 18, 2012

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  • September 18, 2012
  • Mobility Solutions
  • Presentations

press release

Ladies and gentlemen,

The commercial-vehicle sector is under a lot of pressure – economically and above all technically. Total mileage is continuing to increase as a result of the international division of labor, but its impact on our environment and climate must be lessened. Yet in these times of sovereign over-indebtedness, a large-scale expansion of rail and waterways is unlikely. Accordingly, it is primarily the task of road freight traffic – a form of traffic that is becoming ever heavier – to satisfy the demands of environmental protection. This calls for technological solutions.

· Solutions that go even further in increasing the economy and safety of commercial vehicles – vehicles that have already been optimized for efficiency.
· Solutions that Bosch, with its broad systems know-how, is ideally placed to deliver.

In all, we want to reduce commercial-vehicle fuel consumption by another 15 percent by 2020 through a range of measures. Our breadth of expertise, however, from the powertrain to driver assistance and navigation systems, from starters and alternators to mobile hydraulics, is not the whole story. More than ever, we are networking our knowledge, for instance by using topographical data to optimize gear-shift strategies for transmissions or operating strategies for hybrid drives. In order to prepare commercial vehicles for future freight traffic challenges, we are combining know-how from a wide variety of domains. This is something from which our business is benefiting. One-quarter of our automotive technology sales already comes from equipment for commercial vehicles – and in the case of our diesel systems, this share rises to one half. A high-quality truck may feature Bosch systems worth over 1,500 euros. But when it comes to supplying the commercial-vehicle sector, it is not volume that matters to us as much as innovative strength. That said, the one cannot be had without the other.

The business climate is cooling. But innovations have priority

Let’s now turn to the current state of business, which is clearly being affected by the cooling of sentiment in the automotive sector. For one thing, this year our Automotive Technology business sector will achieve sales growth of nearly 4 percent. Currently, headcount is remaining stable, globally as well as in Germany. All in all, we will employ nearly 176,000 associates in Automotive Technology by year-end. As ever, we are giving priority to our efforts to deliver innovations. Our up-front investments will this year once again be well above the average for the sector, and the number of people we have working in automotive technology research and development will grow over the course of the year by 1,000 to a good 31,000. So we are sticking with our long-term goals. Nonetheless, we perceive risks for our business in the uncertainty flowing from the financial and sovereign-debt crisis. Our reaction to this is to take steps to reduce our costs.

This economic uncertainty is not least depressing commercial-vehicle markets. These are showing regional variations this year. Declines in South America, Europe, and in China are being countered by the ongoing surge in hitherto repressed demand in North America. However, in global terms we anticipate a slight fall in truck production this year. On the other hand, our sales in the commercial-vehicle sector will remain stable – even though our business is being impacted by extraordinary effects. In China, for instance, the introduction of a strict national emissions standard that is equivalent to Euro 4 has been put back by a year; this has had the knock-on effect of delaying the market launch of a series of our development projects. The path of innovation is currently far from smooth. But in the long term, it is only through new technology that we can hope to secure the sector's future – above all against the backdrop of the rising ecological demands that I outlined earlier.

New concepts for reducing fuel consumption: how logistics companies can save up to 10,000 euros per vehicle per year

But how do we expect business to develop, and what are we doing on the ground? The principal focus is on further reducing fuel consumption and carbon dioxide emissions. The challenge this presents for producers and suppliers should not be underestimated, especially since commercial vehicles have long been designed to be economical. In terms of consumption per kilowatt-hour, trucks are already up to 15 percent more efficient than passenger cars. First and foremost, engine technology for trucks has already seen significant development, with high injection pressures and increasingly with twin charging. There is little point in applying start-stop systems to long hauls. However, since these systems reduce fuel consumption by up to 8 percent on urban journeys, they do make sense for delivery vehicles. Last year, Bosch delivered 30,000 start-stop systems for light commercial vehicles, and next year this will have risen to as many as 400,000. But achieving significant further economy in trucks will require other solutions, such as hybrid drivetrains. We have an ambitious goal: to reduce fuel consumption by up to an additional 15 percent in the coming years with a raft of measures. With today’s fuel prices and a total annual mileage of 130,000 kilometers, this would bring down operating costs by almost 10,000 euros per vehicle per year. That is good news for logistics companies, and for our climate.

What technical solutions will Bosch come up with to achieve this? The key points are these:

· To begin with, we will capture even more of the savings potential offered by our established technologies. For instance, our affiliated company Bosch Mahle Turbosystems will this year begin series production of ultra-efficient turbochargers for commercial vehicles. Our engineering teams are working on further increases in injection pressure for the common-rail system. Our aim here is to reach 3,000 bar. The interplay between our high-pressure injection and the Denoxtronic urea-metering system already reduces fuel consumption by 5 percent. So it is good for fuel savings that both these systems are increasing their market penetration. After delivering some 2.3 million common-rail systems to the commercial-vehicle sector in 2011, in 2013 we are expecting this figure to be 2.5 million. In the same timeframe we are looking to grow our related sales of Denoxtronic from a good 500,000 to more than 800,000 units. However, it is also clear that our ambitious target for fuel savings will also oblige us to take new approaches.

· We have some 60 engineers working on a hybrid drive for commercial vehicles weighing more than 12 metric tons. This is expected to reduce fuel consumption by up to 6 percent, even on long-haul journeys. Our technical concept is the parallel hybrid. This design features an electric motor with a peak output of 120 kilowatts that is integrated into the powertrain. The greatest challenge is the cost-effective design of the components – such as batteries that, because they are as small and lightweight as possible, require precise control of the degree to which the vehicle is driven electrically. Our aim for the second half of the decade is to develop a hybrid drive that pays off for logistics companies within three years. Climate protection like this makes economic sense.

· Our Eco.logic motion system for economical driving has just gone into a series-production model. In the new Mercedes-Benz Actros, we make it possible for the first time to use information about inclines to calculate an efficient driving strategy for engine management and transmission control. By accelerating at the right time in advance of inclines and by avoiding unnecessary gear shifts, fuel consumption can on average be reduced by 3 percent. In future, we will make hybrid drives that benefit from direct access to our navigation data. Here, energy management is supported by a topographic preview function. What does this mean? It means that the battery can be discharged in good time on uphill stretches, before brake energy recuperation allows the battery to be recharged on a downhill gradient. We are making hybrid drives for commercial vehicles smarter and more efficient at the same time.

· Greater economy thanks to more connectivity – this is the logic behind our work to optimize our 28-volt generators. What’s new is a digital interface for communication with the engine control unit. This means the current driving situation can be reflected in how the generator is controlled – allowing better charging performance while braking and coasting as well as deactivation while accelerating. The result is a fuel saving of 1 percent. Even that is worthwhile for logistics companies, as it translates into a reduction of some 600 euros in operating costs per vehicle per year.

· Natural-gas drives offer even lower costs and even more climate protection. Natural gas costs less at the pump than diesel, and natural-gas drives emit 15 to 20 percent less carbon dioxide than a comparable diesel engine. Bosch offers two alternative technologies for this alternative fuel. First, there are monovalent systems which run purely on natural gas – and we are planning six series roll-outs of these over the coming year in India, China, and Europe. Then there are bivalent systems, with gas injection as well as diesel injection – and these feature in a series of customer projects we are working on in Brazil. We also believe there is a promising future for this type of system in the United States, where there are plans for natural-gas service station corridors that will enable trucks with natural-gas drives to drive from coast to coast. And we are expecting our technology to be on board for the ride.

Better protection of the local environment: a boost for Bosch

Whichever solution we look at, environmental and climate protection makes sense for fleet operators. Even emissions legislation is accompanied by economic incentives. Germany is giving tax credits for early procurement of trucks that meet the Euro 6 standard. At an annual total freeway mileage of 130,000 kilometers, such a truck will cost a good 6,500 euros less in tolls than a Euro 3 truck. Bosch is supporting commercial-vehicle manufacturers in the transition to Euro 6 – with technical solutions where the nitrogen-oxide catalytic converter works with or without exhaust-gas recirculation. Around the world, emissions regulations have long since been tightened for off-road vehicles as well – and are now so strict that electronic injection and exhaust-gas treatment systems have become necessary. This all acts to boost our business. Up to now, one in five injection systems that we deliver for construction or agricultural machinery has been a common-rail system. By 2015, this will be one in two. In order to facilitate exhaust-gas treatment in off-highway vehicles, our affiliated company Bosch Emission Systems offers comprehensive packages. Production of these began in 2010 in Neunkirchen, in Germany’s Saarland region, and expanded to Kentwood, Michigan, this year. Bosch Emission Systems will begin series production of its first package for road vehicles at the start of 2013. We grow by providing technological solutions to ecological challenges.

Accident prevention is becoming mandatory: more vehicles will need ESP

It is not only in environmental protection that we are ahead of the legal requirements, but also in accident prevention. One example is ESP, the electronic stability program which Bosch was the first to launch in 1995. As of the end of 2014, it will become mandatory for European new vehicles in practically all classes. While anti-skid systems are already fitted in a good 70 percent of new cars for the European market, the share of vans equipped with such a system only stands at 60 percent. There is a need for some catching up here. Our new generation of ESP allows us to meet this need, also in light commercial vehicles with large braking systems and high braking pressures.

Driver assistance systems such as automatic emergency braking are also to become mandatory at the end of 2014 in new vehicles for the European market. We offer a radar sensor that is designed for speeds up to 150 kph, which makes it suitable for mid-range applications, and thus especially for trucks and vans. We have designed a 24-volt version for commercial vehicles in collaboration with our affiliated company Knorr-Bremse. This new radar sensor enables a series of functions, from emergency braking to the ACC cruise control system. Both of these relieve truckers of some of the burden of driving in road freight traffic that is continuously growing in volume.

Our versatility: new developments in mobile hydraulics and telematics

Although Bosch technology for commercial vehicles aims above all to improve accident prevention and environmental protection, it is also much more versatile – stretching to solutions for comfort, telematics, and service. Here too, I would like to give you a few examples:

· Our Bosch Rexroth subsidiary is launching its HTA hydraulic traction assistant. A typical application for this is in a commercial vehicle that turns off the highway and onto difficult terrain such as a construction site. If necessary, HTA activates two hydraulically driven wheel-hub motors – an energy-efficient alternative to mechanical four-wheel drive. HTA weighs nearly half a metric ton less than a four-wheel drive system, so payload can be increased accordingly. One special feature is crawling mode, in which the truck is propelled purely by the hydraulics. This allows the truck to be maneuvered easily, like a forklift.

· Our ZF Lenksysteme joint venture has produced the world's first electric steering system for light commercial vehicles. This technology has only been installed in passenger cars until now. It forms the basis for a variety of driver-assistance functions. Electric steering also offers a number of advantages for commercial vehicles – including lower fuel consumption, increased safety, and more comfort.

· We have developed the Connectivity&Control Unit, a new telematics solution for managing large vehicle fleets. This device connects vehicles’ on-board electronics with a data processing center. It automatically transfers vehicle operating data and malfunction reports to enable precisely targeted servicing and repairs. This diagnostics service makes fleet management even more cost-effective.

· And finally, if the worst comes to the worst, we ensure that no vehicle is left idle for too long. There are nearly 4,000 Bosch diesel specialists around the world offering servicing and repairs for trucks, vans, and buses. Bosch is committed to ensuring that no new technology is introduced that is not backed up by a reliable specialist service.

Close to the customer all around the world: Bosch as a supplier for commercial vehicles

Bosch is committed to being close to the customer all around the world, both with its technical know-how and with its service. The fact that we have some 50 engineering centers and a good 120 manufacturing locations worldwide shows just how much international clout our automotive technology operations have. And just as we network our technologies, we strengthen international collaboration. To take commercial-vehicle generators as an example, our engineers all around the world have designed the new Classic Line for the low end of the market, paying particular attention to meeting emerging markets’ cost and performance requirements. Series production began this year in China, and will now spread at a rapid pace to Hungary, India, Brazil, and Mexico. This is how Bosch, as a supplier for commercial vehicles, puts globalization into practice. It does not allow us to escape the ups and downs of the economy, but by tailoring cost-effective solutions to local needs while also developing high-tech for the sector’s growing efficiency requirements, we make our own business more robust. We help people to make savings – which conserves resources and is true to our strategic principle of delivering products that are “Invented for life.” Moreover, all around the world, efficiency is something that can especially benefit the commercial-vehicle industry in difficult times.

Press images

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 375,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2015). The company generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in 2015. 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 roughly 440 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing and sales network covers some 150 countries. The basis for the company’s future growth is its innovative strength. Bosch employs 55,800 associates in research and development at 118 locations across the globe. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to deliver innovations for a 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.”

The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.” The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

Additional information is available online at and,

RF00165 - September 18, 2012

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