Moving toward clean mobility
10 mins read
The electric drive — the key to reaching the 95-gram target
There are currently more than a billion vehicles on the world’s streets. According to experts, the figure is likely to double by 2030. For this reason, industry must focus its efforts on significantly reducing emissions, especially CO₂. For decades, Bosch has continuously developed components to make the internal combustion engine ever more efficient. And the company aims to reduce the fuel consumption of modern gasoline and diesel engines even further, by up to 20 percent. In addition to this, Bosch spends around 400 million euros each year on driving e-mobility forward.
Thanks to efficient engines, catalytic converters, and particle filters, emissions have been significantly decreased since 1995. Despite this, the European Union’s emissions targets mean that e-mobility must continue to progress. By 2020, the average CO₂ emissions of new vehicles will be limited to 95 g/km.
Especially for large vehicles and SUVs, a significant reduction of CO₂ emissions can only be achieved if efficient internal combustion engines are supported with electric motors. Some of these high-voltage hybrids are already capable of driving short distances purely electrically. A number of premium hybrid vehicle models are equipped with Bosch components, among them Porsche and Mercedes vehicles, as well as the BMW i3 with Range Extender.
Bosch and its partners increase the range of electric vehicles
Bosch expects e-mobility to see a breakthrough from 2020 onward. One of the biggest challenges to realizing this vision lies in the battery: not only must it become more affordable; its performance must also be improved. At present, many electric vehicles need to be charged after just 150 kilometers.
Around 1,800 Bosch associates are working on offering the automotive industry an electric drive that is accessible to the masses. Moreover, Bosch is cooperating with different partners to pool expertise and actively drive development in a number of areas. One such partnership is the joint venture Bosch established with GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi in 2013. The partners aim to make the next generation of lithium-ion batteries ready for market.
Solid-state cells for lithium-ion batteries
With the purchase of Seeo Inc., a start-up from California, Bosch bolstered its innovative strength in September 2015. Seeo has unique expertise in the area of innovative solid-state cells for lithium-ion batteries, as well as a number of patents in this area. Bosch experts now expect to launch a new battery within the next five years that will have more than twice the energy density of current models. What is more, the production costs of the new technology will be lower. With the new battery, an electric vehicle would have a range of more than 300 kilometers. At the same time, the innovative battery would be 75 percent smaller and weigh about half as much as current models.
On the cutting edge with solid-state technology
Bosch is confident that the acquisition of Seeo will enable an innovative leap thanks to cell chemistry. Here, the battery’s positive and negative poles (cathode and anode) play a major role. At present, the anode of lithium-ion batteries is largely made of graphite.
In the future, innovative solid-state technology will make it possible to produce batteries with pure lithium. In turn, this would enable the storage of a significantly larger amount of energy. In addition, the electrolyte used would be non-combustible, in contrast to liquid conductors. This will make the new solution safer. “The solid-state cell could be a decisive breakthrough technology,” says Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the Bosch board of management. In the coming months and years, engineers will test the technology’s viability. Mass production is scheduled to begin in 2020.
According to Bosch forecasts, in ten years time around 15 percent of the vehicles produced around the world will have an electric drive. The importance of the electric vehicle’s viability for the mass market has already become evident in China: there are already more than 120 million electric scooters on the country’s roads. “For more than 100 years, everyone was satisfied with conventional bicycles. And then the e-bike came along and turned an established market on its head,” says Volkmar Denner, the CEO of Bosch. The automotive industry could be on the cusp of a similar revolution.