Mobility Solutions

Combustion engines, hybrids, all-electric vehicles Bosch presents the powertrains of the future

  • Some 15 percent of new vehicles to have an electrical powertrain by 2025
  • Clean combustion engines for Euro 6, China 4, and U.S. LEV emissions standards
  • Longer range for electric vehicles: new batteries and intelligent thermal management
  • Dr. Rolf Bulander: “Bits and bytes are making cars more efficient”
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  • September 10, 2015
  • Mobility Solutions
  • Press releases
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press release

Frankfurt/Stuttgart, Germany – Downsizing and electric motors: in the years ahead, quite a lot is set to change under the hood. Downsizing will become the standard, instead of just a trend. These days, nearly every vehicle – whether compact car, SUV, or powerful sports car – has a turbocharged engine. Equipped with ever more innovative technologies, the internal-combustion engine will continue to play a major role in global mobility. In five years' time, 98 percent of new vehicles will still be powered at least partially by fossil fuels. This is particularly true of markets such as China and the United States. “Modern combustion technology is the bedrock of efficient mobility,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Bosch Mobility Solutions business sector.

At the same time, we are seeing the beginning of a transition to electromobility. Bosch expects roughly 15 percent of all new cars built worldwide to have an electrical powertrain by 2025, while in Europe more than a third of all new cars will be partly electrically powered – the majority as hybrids. For Bulander, there is no doubt that electrification “will take combustion engines to new heights.” Vehicles are becoming cleaner and more efficient – and the additional electrification will provide a boost to driving enjoyment.

Internal-combustion engine as the bedrock of efficient mobility
Modern IC engines have made significant technical advances in recent years. The figures for Europe clearly illustrate this. Since 2000, CO2 emissions from cars in Europe have sunk by a quarter – even though performance and vehicle weight have increased over the same period. Drivers are noticing this improvement at the pumps: standard fuel consumption per 100 kilometers is often less than seven liters for compact cars with gasoline engines, and less than five liters for those with diesel engines.

But fuel economy on its own is no longer enough – powertrains need to become even cleaner as well, as a look at stringent emissions legislation such as Euro 6, China 4, or LEV in the United States shows. Making powertrains as clean as they are efficient calls for particularly sophisticated technology. At the IAA 2015, numerous innovative Bosch products show how this can be done. In diesel engines, Bosch is increasing injection pressure to 2,700 bar. For gasoline engines, the latest generation of gasoline direct injection now delivers 350 bar instead of 200 bar. The increase in pressure means the fuel is more finely atomized and burns much more cleanly.

Diesel: engineering turns its attention to real driving emissions
Bosch is also paying particular attention to refining the diesel engine. “Diesel technology is key to achieving fleet CO2 emissions targets. Especially in Europe, these targets could not be achieved without the diesel,” Bulander says. Over the next five years, engine refinements alone can help make even the most modern diesel engines up to 15 percent more economical. In real driving conditions, even lower fuel-consumption figures are attainable. Coasting is one example. In this mode, the engine is stopped temporarily – even at high speeds – so that it uses no fuel.

When it comes to emissions, too, the Bosch engineers are interested in more than just improvements on paper. The European Union is considering the introduction of real driving emission tests starting in 2017. For diesel vehicles, this measuring method concentrates primarily on emissions of nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide in real driving conditions. Even now, there are a number of production vehicles whose emissions are already extremely low, and this even in operating modes not covered by present certification cycles – for example, during rapid acceleration or at high speeds. The task now is to make such technologies more widely available and cost-effective.

Hybrid: electrification will take combustion engines to new heights
When it comes to big, heavy vehicles, however, merely optimizing the IC engine is no longer enough. It is Bosch's belief that the EU's stringent fleet CO2 targets for 2021 will mean that drivers will always also have the option of choosing an SUV with a hybrid powertrain. Bosch plans to be ready for this development. Each year, the supplier of technology and services invests nearly 400 million euros in advancing electromobility. There are currently around 30 production models featuring Bosch electrification technology – in the U.S., in China, and from premium German automakers. Bosch components can be found in Porsche's hybrid sports car, in Mercedes hybrid models, as well as in vehicles such as the BMW i3 with range extender. In the future, Bosch sees especially good market potential for hybrids and plug-in hybrids. In 2020, over 10.5 million of them are expected to roll off the production lines.

“Electrification and internal combustion are not mutually exclusive, but complementary,” Bulander says. Bosch's boost recuperation system, which will be available from 2017, is a case in point. In compact vehicles, this entry-level 48-volt hybrid enables a roughly six percent reduction in CO2 emissions in the driving cycle. This fuel saving is above all the result of the efficient recovery of braking energy. By means of a coasting function, this fuel economy can be improved still further, with the engine offering the benefits of a start-stop system at high speeds as well. The 48-volt hybrid also features a boost function – which goes to show that fuel saving goes hand in hand with driving enjoyment in entry-level hybrids as well. When drivers step on the accelerator pedal, the electric motor supports the IC engine with up to 150 newton meters of extra torque.

Electromobility: powerful battery, economical heating
High-voltage solutions are even more dynamic, since electric motors deliver the full amount of torque right from the start. But if electric cars are to become widespread over the coming years, they must become significantly cheaper. Battery technology will play a key role here. To research the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, Bosch has joined forces with GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation in the Lithium Energy and Power joint venture. Here, the partners have pooled their strengths: in its collaboration with Bosch, GS Yuasa can contribute its experience in cell chemistry to develop cells with a higher energy density. In addition, Bosch brings its expertise in complex battery management and systems integration to the table.

In addition, Bosch has acquired the U.S. start-up company Seeo, Inc. (Hayward, CA). With the purchase, Bosch now possesses essential know-how in the area of innovative solid-state cells. This technology complements the developments the company has already achieved with its Japanese partners GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation. To date, the aim has been to double energy density and halve its costs by the end of this decade. With the Seeo technology, Bosch sees the potential to increase the energy capacity of lithium-ion cells even further. “Bosch is applying its knowledge and a great deal of financial resources to help electromobility achieve a breakthrough,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the Bosch CEO.

But a larger battery is not the only way of extending the range of an electric vehicle. After all, the air-conditioning and heating can also significantly reduce range. Bosch now offers a smart thermal management system. Because it works much more efficiently than previous versions, it can extend range by up to 25 percent. “We also want the various engine components to communicate with each other,” Bulander says. A system of controllable pumps and valves collects cold and heat at source – in the power electronics, for example. The heat can then be used for things such as heating the passenger compartment. Such an integrated system of thermal management reduces the heating system's wintertime power requirement by up to 60 percent.

Electric cars are good but connected electric cars are better
Finally, increasing internet connectivity will make electric vehicles a more practicable everyday option: “Electric cars are good but connected electric cars are better,” Bulander says. This is underlined by a new Bosch Software Innovations smartphone app. The Bosch Group's software and systems unit has developed an app that makes it significantly easier to find 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 to recharge anywhere in Germany is a smartphone, the app, and a PayPal account.

But connectivity in electrical powertrains does not stop there. After all, only connected vehicles can fully exploit the potential of electrification. “Bits and bytes are making cars more efficient,” Bulander says. One example of this is the connected electronic horizon solution, a Bosch technology that will provide essential traffic information about mobile construction sites, traffic jams, and accidents in real time. This is something all vehicles can benefit from, whether powered by electric motors or IC engines. The highly accurate data will serve to improve existing functions, such as start-stop coasting. At the same time, plug-in hybrids can use the system to implement a predictive operating strategy. Even in powertrains that are already very efficient, technologies such as these will cut CO2 emissions by a further double-digit percentage.

Contact person for press inquiries: Florian Flaig, phone: +49 711 811-6282

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Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2015, its sales came to 41.7 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with 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. 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.”

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PI9014 - September 10, 2015

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