E-Mobility in Stuttgart
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Stuttgart is a byword for mobility. This is where international automakers and suppliers are developing the mobility solutions of the future. The Bosch associate Daniel Betsch has seen for himself what this future looks like. Join the e-mobility fan on a quiet and emissions-free tour of Stuttgart.
The special moment
Daniel Betsch is what marketing experts call an “early mover.” Twelve years ago in his parents’ basement, he built his first electric bike, with a front wheel from a wheelbarrow: “I needed it for adjusting speed,” the mechatronics engineer says, as though it were the most natural thing in the world. With the same quiet self-assurance, he goes on to narrate other milestones in his electromobility career — his first electric scooter, for example, and the converted electric, tropical-look Trabant. He talks about his e-mail to the former Bosch CEO Franz Fehrenbach, whom he asked to advocate electric charge spots at Bosch locations. All the way to setting up Bosch’s own electromobility club, which Betsch has led since its inception.
The Fiat 500e is now winding its way up the serpentine bends of Zeppelinstrasse. As the houses get bigger, the cars on the roadside get more expensive. Betsch points to a Porsche Panamera at the side of the road, immediately recognizing what is special about it. As his work involves testing hybrid vehicles, he knows that this plug-in hybrid features Bosch technology. The same goes for more than two dozen other models, from the eGolf, to the BMW i3 Range Extender, to the Fiat 500e in which Betsch is now sitting. A little later, Betsch passes two women cycling up the hill. Despite the shopping bags on their handlebars, they seem to be effortlessly mastering the steep incline. It takes a second glance to notice the slim battery fixed to their bicycles. Chances are that they are benefiting from Bosch technology, too. Every one in four electric bikes currently sold in Europe uses a Bosch drive system.
When it comes to e-mobility, Bosch has a broad portfolio. The company offers its customers powertrain systems for hybrid and electric vehicles. This includes electric motors, power electronics units, charging devices, and batteries, as well as regenerative braking systems. In the two-wheeler segment as well, Bosch is moving e-mobility forward. On the one hand, the company is Europe’s leading supplier of e-bike drives and components for more than 50 manufac-turers. On the other hand, it supplies e-scooter drive systems for the Chinese market, where there are already 120 million electric scooters on the roads. Finally, the new software solutions offered by Bosch allow the charge spots of one or several operators to be networked with each other.
Drivers can then use their smartphone to find and book the nearest available charge spot, regardless of provider or place. In addition, Bosch software solutions make it possible to network diverse mobility solutions — car-sharing schemes, bike-sharing schemes, and public transportation — with each other.
When the future will be commonplace
The move toward more e-mobility is evident in the cityscape as well. As part of the car2go car-sharing service, 500 electrically powered Smarts have already taken to the streets in Stuttgart — that’s more than in any other European city. These and other electric vehicles can be recharged at over 400 charge spots.
The Fiat 500e — for which Bosch supplies the electric motor, the power electronics, and the battery — continues along a very special section of Kräherwaldstrasse. It is part of a 66-kilometer-long stretch that is the measure of all things for various automakers. On this circular course in and around Stuttgart, engineers find everything from extreme gradients and sections of freeway to winding overland routes — all the conditions needed for conducting real-life tests. The loop was developed by Bosch in collaboration with the University of Stuttgart.
Daniel Betsch points to the numbers that light up in quick succession on the display under the speedometer. “60 km, 80 km, 110 km…” The range increases again because the Fiat is recovering energy during the downhill run and storing it in the battery. Betsch gives it its technical name: “It’s called recuperation.”
Trendsetter from Stuttgart
So once he’s hooked up to the charge spot at the Bosch site in Feuerbach, he needs only a quick charge to fill up the battery again. “If we want more people to use alternative powertrain systems, we have to have standardized charging and billing systems across Germany.” This is something Bosch is also working on.
The Bosch Software Innovations already offers a software solution that makes it possible for a recharging card to work anywhere. Like a debit card, it can be used to recharge the car at charge spots operated by any number of providers.
The tour in the Fiat 500e is almost at an end. Betsch drives the demo car, which is not even officially for sale in Germany yet, back to the western end of Stuttgart where his trip began. For the ride home, he gets into his own car, which is almost as old as he is. Naturally, his converted 1985 Golf 2 Citystromer is also electric. Its driving range is an impressive 300 kilometers. The trunk contains 576 batteries from discarded impact drills and lawnmowers — officially validated for safety — that store the electrical energy. Betsch puts the key in the ignition. With a smile on his face, he glides silently off into the distance.
Advancing e-mobility calls for passionate people like Daniel Betsch and companies that are investing in the field. From battery technologies and powertrains to infrastructure, Bosch is taking an integrated approach to the mobility of tomorrow.