Now that the relevant authorities have given their approval, Bosch is moving ahead with the reorganization of its lithium-ion traction battery operations. Effective immediately, the former operating units SB LiMotive Germany GmbH in Stuttgart and Cobasys LLC based in Orion, Michigan, will be incorporated into the Bosch Group as a wholly owned subsidiary under the new name Robert Bosch Battery Systems.
As part of the further intensification of battery activities, Bosch has taken on all existing battery system projects. It is planned for Samsung SDI to be the cell supplier. In addition, Bosch will have the flexibility to use cells from other manufacturers. The Fiat 500e, which was recently unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will go into series production in 2013, is the first all-electric vehicle with a Bosch battery pack.
Focus on the battery system
Currently, Bosch is concentrating on the battery system and in particular battery management and matching energy storage to the vehicle as a whole, which includes all aspects of mechanical and electronic integration. This is exactly where the company's classical competencies lie. After all, the efficiency and performance of electric vehicles depend on obtaining the optimum interaction of all electric and electronic components and managing major battery variables such as temperature or state of charge so that they meet the specific requirements of different situations. Developments in these areas can deliver significant improvements in range and charging time, which are the decisive factors for the success of electric vehicles. This is one of the reasons why Daimler chose a Bosch battery management system for its Smart EV.
More efficient lithium-ion battery cells in development
As part of their continued cooperation, the former joint venture partners have agreed to give each other access to the patents. On this basis, Bosch will be able to develop new generations of cells and the production methods for more efficient and economical energy storage. This development involves Bosch researchers, current engineering work on maritime applications, and Bosch process technology and manufacturing specialists, in close cooperation with selected partners.
Independent European network of battery specialists
Demand for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids is predicted to sharply increase from 2020. Bosch is making good use of the time available by further expanding its activities to develop and produce more efficient lithium-ion battery systems. Bosch wants to cooperate closely with specialist partners from industry and higher education to establish research and development work on high-performance battery cells in Germany and to set up a European specialist and supplier network. This will cultivate expertise relating not only to batteries for electromobility, but also to the stationary energy storage devices of the future.
As one of the world's leading automotive suppliers, Bosch is taking up the best possible position in the battery technology market for hybrid and electric vehicles. To achieve this, the Bosch Group spends 400 million euros a year for electromobility alone. Bosch currently has over 1,100 associates working in this field – including the roughly 500 battery specialists in Germany, the U.S., and China. This global presence gives Bosch close contact to its customers in the world's most important e-mobility markets.