Automotive tier one supplier Robert Bosch GmbH has announced it will invest about € 400 million (about $ 508 million) annually in the development of all-electric powertrains and associated electronics. The company also reiterated its avowal to the internal combustion engine and hybrid drives.
After having successfully established its hybrid drive technology at the market, Bosch said it plans to increasingly invest in electric cars. According to Bosch manager Rolf Bulander, electric vehicles are particularly suited for operation in megacities while medium distances will remain the domain of conventional gasoline and diesel driven vehicles. HEV vehicles meet the requirements of both short and long distances, he said, adding that the company still sees a future for fuel cell drives in long-distance operation.
During the past months, the first vehicles globally equipped with Bosch's parallel hybrid concept have hit the markets: The Porsche Cayenne and the Volkswagen Touareg. In addition, Bosch has launched a development cooperation with PSA Peugeot Citroen focusing on HEVs with electric four-wheel drive. In the context of this project, Bosch is providing power electronics components and electric motors.
In the meantine, globally 800 engineers and technicians are developing technologies for HEVs and all-electric vehicles. Another 650 persons are working for SB LiMotive, a joint venture of Bosch and Samsung. SB LiMotive develops lithium ion batteries for electric cars, with BMW being the first customer. The Bavarian luxury car maker recently announced its electric 'Megacity Vehicle' using batteries from this company.
Bosch said it currently is establishing production sites for power electronics and electro motors, both serving markets for e-vehicles. In this context, the company pointed out that “electromobility is more than just powertrain components”. In order to explore and create the environment required for electromobility, the company collaborates with other participants in several government-funded projects which cover the most significant aspects of electromobility. Among the research topics are integration of the vehicles into a future battery charging infrastructure, and new mobility services.
For 2020, Bosch expects e-cars to have a market share of some 3 percent. HEVs will have a share of 6 percent, the company predicts.