Press release #Electrified mobility

On the way to a sustainable future

How Bosch eBike Systems reduces the carbon footprint of eBikes

  • Joint analysis with TÜV Rheinland: Potential for greater sustainability in development and production, to gradually reduce the eBike carbon footprint
  • Assuming responsibility: Accurate monitoring ensures greater transparency throughout the entire supply chain
  • Sustainable recycling economy: Bosch eBike Systems remanufactures drive units, and advocates for eBike battery recycling
Tamara Winograd

Tamara Winograd

Stuttgart/Reutlingen - around a quarter of the EU's total CO₂ emissions are caused by transport, according to a report by the European Environment Agency. Riding an eBike helps reduce congestion, noise and exhaust emissions. In order to reduce emissions even more, it is important to establish sustainability as a fixed criterion in eBike development and production. As a result, Bosch eBike Systems has already included environmental criteria in product development, and has rolled out the concept of resource conservation to all processes. From social and ecological responsibility along the supply chain, to the most sustainable possible product development and production processes. As well as improved recycling efficiency - all to create a sustainable recycling economy.

As part of the Bosch Group, whose locations have been climate-neutral since 2020, the Bosch eBike Systems business unit has also established sustainability as a central element of its strategy. "eBikes are already demonstrating the major role they play in sustainable mobility in our cities. They don't emit pollutants, don't generate noise and require little space. In short: They represent a genuine alternative to a motor vehicle and, because they are used more often and longer than bicycles without an electric drive, they reduce traffic in the city, and decrease the environmental impact. At Bosch eBike Systems, we are working every day to develop products and solutions that make a contribution to sustainable mobility, while at the same time gradually reducing the carbon footprint of eBikes," explains Claus Fleischer, CEO of Bosch eBike Systems. "Because sustainability is not an additional task, but the core of our business."

Sustainability potential analysed with TÜV Rheinland

In order to effectively reduce emissions, Bosch eBike Systems has analysed the carbon footprint of its products in cooperation with TÜV Rheinland. According to the study, around 75 percent of an eBike's CO2 emissions are caused by materials and production, and 15 percent through use. The remaining ten percent is accounted for by transport, packaging and recycling.

On average, a pedelec has a total carbon footprint of 300 kg of CO2 equivalents. If the eBike components are considered individually with approximately 121 kg of CO2 equivalents, approx. 60 percent of emissions are attributed to the battery. If you ride about 450 kilometres with the eBike instead of a using a motor vehicle with an internal combustion engine, the eBike battery will have already paid for itself. Bosch eBike Systems uses these, and other results of the analysis, to develop and implement efficient measures for greater sustainability together with its suppliers and partners.

Transparent supply chains and resource conservation for greater sustainability

We aim to further increase the capacity of battery cells while at the same time minimising the proportion of valuable raw materials they contain. Bosch eBike Systems is working to increase transparency in the supply chain so that these raw materials can be traced. In 2021, a sustainability questionnaire was developed in collaboration with battery cell suppliers, to find out exact information about the supply chain - all the way back to the raw material procurement stage - in order to identify further sustainability potential. By the end of 2022, we aim to develop questionnaires about other eBike system components, such as the drive system and control unit, which contain materials such as aluminium and rare earths.

At the same time, Bosch eBike Systems is promoting the conservation of resources together with its suppliers. For example, it has been possible to reduce the cobalt content in the cathode of the eBike battery cell by around 65 percent since 2013. We aim to further reduce the cobalt content while increasing the capacity of the battery cell.

Remanufacturing for technically complex products

The eBike drive units from Bosch are technically complex products that cannot be repaired by the users themselves. Specialist dealers can carry out maintenance and minor repairs to the drive unit. This can include, for example, use of a drive unit repair kit, relubrication or the replacement or retrofitting of bearing protection rings. If a major fault is detected, Bosch will collect the motor from the dealer and decide whether it can be repaired on a case-by-case basis. In some cases, the drive units are subject to a remanufacturing process during a service case, whereby the drives are reconditioned and returned to the customer in a fully functional state following an "end-of-line" test. This contributes to the reuse of non-defective components.

Once an eBike battery has reached the end of its lifetime, it must be disposed of appropriately. Bosch eBike Systems supports new and sustainable recycling methods and, in all sales countries where it is legally possible, voluntarily assumes responsibility for recycling obligations through local service partners, while also absorbing the costs. In countries where recycling solutions are not yet available or existing recycling solutions are inadequate, Bosch remains in close contact with its partners, and provides support for pilot projects or the development of industry solutions. We aim to work with manufacturers to allow as many Bosch eBike System users as possible to find a recycling solution in their country.

Bosch eBike Systems is shaping the future of eBike mobility with innovative products and digital services ranging from highly efficient drive systems to the first production-ready ABS for eBikes and Connected Biking solutions. On the daily routes through the city, on leisurely rides through the countryside or for sporting adventures in the mountains: Bosch eBike Systems offers eBikers the right drive system (drive unit, battery, display, and app) for every requirement and every area of use, ensuring a unique riding sensation. Today, more than 100 of the world's leading bicycle brands trust the perfectly coordinated, modular product portfolio. As an independent division within the Bosch Group, Bosch eBike Systems also makes use of the Group's technology and manufacturing expertise. For healthy, safe and sustainable mobility that is fun.

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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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