Presentations #Business/economy

Emissions-free mobility is coming – provided the solutions are affordable and fascinating

Joern Ebberg

Joern Ebberg >


Dr. Volkmar Denner
chairman of the Bosch board of management,
at the IAA press conference
in Frankfurt
on September 10, 2019

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This year’s IAA, ladies and gentlemen, is a catalyst –

energizing not only the automotive industry and its customers, but also kindling debate and demonstrations. And more than ever, society is faced with critical questions: What could eco-friendly mobility look like? How can the technological progress we need be achieved economically? And how, finally, can we handle the social consequences of climate-friendly transport policy? We will have to find a new position that harmonizes the interests of ecology, economy, and society. There are no simple solutions, and no one person exclusively holds the key. We will have to hammer out a solution in an open debate. We’re here at a motor show, yet questions such as these are just as much on people’s minds as the latest models on four wheels. Our response to them has two parts.

  • First, we want mobility that helps keep our planet healthy and the air in our cities clean. Bosch will be the first industrial enterprise to make all its locations worldwide carbon neutral within one year. And we’re applying the same determination to deliver efficient powertrains, from combustion engines to fuel cells.
  • Second, what is ecologically correct must not be socially and economically incorrect. Emissions-free mobility is possible – if it remains affordable for people and its benefits capture their imagination. Only in this way can we make it a market success.

That said, for some time now we’ve regarded mobility as much more than people driving their own cars. As we see it, tomorrow’s mobility will not only be electrified and automated, but also connected and personalized. And it is above all this personalized form that will be about much more than driving. For us, it means services that find the best way for each individual to get to their destination, whether on two or four wheels, by road or by rail. Supporting multimodal mobility is also a response to the critical issues surrounding road traffic.

Key to the future: three billion euros annually for software

But first, we’re developing the technological foundations for the mobility of the future. Our open sesame for all this is our profound expertise in electronics and software. Even now, our Mobility Solutions business sector employs some 14,000 software developers, and its annual software engineering expenditure comes to nearly 3 billion euros.

The upshot is significantly more powerful vehicle electronics and software architecture, which is important for connected driving as well as automated and electrified driving. Computing power will increase by a factor of at least 1,000 at the start of the next decade. What we will be seeing is high-performance vehicle control units of the kind Bosch is already creating for the integration of infotainment systems and driver assistance functions. With computers such as these, vehicles will increasingly act as players on the internet of things.

Growth at last: electromobility is turning the corner

But how will they drive on tomorrow’s roads? We foresee a gradual transformation of the automotive powertrain. First of all, there’s still some mileage left in the combustion engine. In 2030, three-quarters of all new vehicles will feature a diesel or gasoline engine, whether with or without a hybrid option. For this reason alone, further refining these engines is environmentally expedient. Thanks to Bosch’s new exhaust technology, diesel engines’ NOx emissions have been almost completely eliminated, as independent tests have already shown. Our solution is already in production, and features in a number of vehicles being presented at this show. Our next goal is the reduction of particulates from gasoline engines. More specifically, this means 70 percent less particulate matter than permitted by the current Euro 6d standard – both on the road and at the test bench. But that’s not all. We can also reduce brake dust by more than 90 percent, whether with regenerative braking systems or with our iDisc brake disc. We are coming ever closer to our goal of road traffic that no longer pollutes the air in our cities.

The electromobility market is also gaining speed at last. It is becoming ever more obvious that the electrical powertrain will be Bosch’s next success story. Both technologically and commercially, we lead the way. We lead the way in the efficiency of our components, and have a broader footprint than other suppliers – from bikes to trucks. And growth is on its way. In 2018, we acquired orders for 30 electromobility projects worth 8 billion euros, and the first half of 2019 has already seen a series of further orders worth 5 billion euros. The total value of the electromobility orders we have won in the last 18 months thus amounts to 13 billion euros. As early as 2020, our sales in this area will pass the one-billion-euro mark. For 2025, we have set ourselves a sales target of 5 billion euros – a target which we will surpass. Our products are finding a market, and our upfront investments are paying off.

At the same time, we are commercializing the fuel-cell powertrain. To achieve this, we are preparing to manufacture a Bosch stack. More specifically, we are further refining the stack made by our partner Powercell, which already offers the highest power density in the market. The task now is to manufacture it cost-effectively. We will do this not only through economies of scale, but also through simultaneous engineering of the product and the manufacturing process. This is one of Bosch’s strengths. And one of the ways we will exploit this strength is by deploying engineers experienced in mass-production diesel projects to work on this new technology. We made common rail affordable, and we will do the same for alternative powertrains such as the fuel cell.

It starts with parking: automated driving becomes everyday reality

We’re also in the lead on the path to automated driving. In this endeavor, we will generate 12 percent growth with driver assistance systems this year, with sales rising to 2 billion euros. Sales of radar sensors alone will grow 20 percent in 2019, and those of video sensors by 30 percent. For the next levels of automated driving, we will invest 4 billion euros up to 2022. The next step is freeway assistants that allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel. We are currently developing such level 2 hands-off systems for the Asian and U.S. markets. At present, it is only there that such systems are legally permissible. We need them to be approved for exactly the same purpose in Europe, so that the next stage of automation can also happen on our roads.

After all, we were given approval for the world’s first driverless parking system right here in Germany – for our joint project with Daimler in Stuttgart’s Mercedes-Benz Museum. The project is no longer a prototype, but is going into regular operation. I’ve brought along a film clip to show you how the automated valeting and parking service works.

And of course, that’s not the end of the story. Here as well, we will work on costs. One way of doing so is by deploying the video cameras we use in our building technology. By the end of 2021, we will have set up automated valet parking in a dozen further parking garages, and by 2025, we aim to have it available at over one hundred more. But with this first approval, we can say that everyday automated driving starts with parking.

Equipped for disruptive trends: projects with new market players

Technologically, we are the innovation leader – but how do we foresee new business ideas in our rapidly changing industry? Bosch is deliberately entering into business with new market players that may also be antennae for disruptive trends. For example, we’re working with DiDi, Lyft, and Uber – the three biggest ride-hailing providers, who already arrange more than 50 million rides a day in total worldwide. For DiDi, we are using a cloud service to prolong batteries’ service lives. To give you an idea of the new approaches we’re taking in our collaboration with new providers, as well as of the visions we have for web-based mobility, I’ll now hand over to Stefan Hartung.

Mobility is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2023, its sales came to 56.2 billion euros, or just under 60 percent of total Group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading mobility suppliers. Bosch Mobility pursues a vision of mobility that is safe, sustainable, and exciting. For its customers, the outcome is integrated mobility solutions. The business sector’s main areas of activity are electrification, software and services, semiconductors and sensors, vehicle computers, advanced driver assistance systems, systems for vehicle dynamics control, repair-shop concepts, as well as 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 429,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2023). The company generated sales of 91.6 billion euros in 2023. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. With its business activities, the company aims to use technology to help shape universal trends such as automation, electrification, digitalization, connectivity, and an orientation to sustainability. In this context, Bosch’s broad diversification across regions and industries strengthens its innovativeness and robustness. Bosch uses its proven expertise in sensor technology, software, and services to offer customers cross-domain solutions from a single source. It also applies its expertise in connectivity and artificial intelligence in order to develop and manufacture user-friendly, sustainable products. With technology that is “Invented for life,” Bosch wants to help improve quality of life and conserve natural resources. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 470 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. Bosch’s innovative strength is key to the company’s further development. At 136 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 90,000 associates in research and development, of which nearly 48,000 are software engineers.

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