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Lithium-ion batteries The future for hybrid and electric vehicles


Bosch pursuing long-term strategy to increase use of electric motors in drivetrains
· In the future, the lithium-ion battery will supply power for efficient automotive hybrid and electrical drives

· With SB LiMotive Co. Ltd., its joint venture to develop and manufacture lithium-ion batteries, Bosch is expanding its portfolio

· Bosch expects hybrid and electric vehicles to have a more than three percent share of the world market by 2015

Stuttgart – With its work to develop and subsequently manufacture automotive lithium-ion batteries, Bosch is rounding off its portfolio of products for hybrid and electrical drives. SB LiMotive Co. Ltd., its joint venture with its Korean partner Samsung SDI has started its operations in this area on September 1, 2008. “Thus, we are the first and only automotive supplier with a joint venture to develop lithium-ion batteries for the complex requirements of the automobile,” says Wolf-Henning Scheider, president of the Gasoline Systems division. In 2011, Bosch and Samsung intend to start production of battery systems.

“Apart from Bosch core competencies in automotive technology and Samsung SDI know-how in lithium-ion technology, the two companies will invest between 300 and 400 million dollars in this area in the next five years,” Scheider adds. Lithium-ion batteries are the key technology for the use of electric motors in vehicles. For more than 30 years now, Bosch has been working on electrical drive technologies for the automobile. This means that the company can draw on comprehensive expertise in battery, electrical drive, and brake management, as well as in engine management and transmission control. In addition, the company has already built up a broad portfolio of components, including powerful electric motors, the necessary power electronics, and DC/DC converters. Bosch’s main focus is the concept of the parallel hybrid, whose modular components can be customized to suit the requirements of individual OEMs and their models. Bosch already has its first orders for both gasoline and diesel hybrids. Besides mild and strong hybrid concepts, Bosch also offers simpler methods for innovative start-stop technologies and the recovery of braking energy via the alternator, as these concepts also allow significant CO2 reductions to be made. Within the Bosch Group, the expertise of roughly 370 associates from a wide range of divisions is pooled in a “Hybrid” project unit, whose purpose is to develop and market hybrid and electrical drives. A further 40 associates are involved in the further development and marketing of lithium-ion batteries.

Bosch engineers regard the combination of internal combustion engine and electric motor in the hybrid or plug-in hybrid as an interim solution. Even so, the technical complexity of this solution is considerable, as is the additional weight it creates. One concept with a longer-term perspective is the “range extender,” since it has a combustion engine that serves solely to charge the battery, not to drive the vehicle itself, meaning that there is less “duplicated” technology on board. In addition, this concept allows purely electrically powered driving over medium distances. And thanks to the power delivered by its combustion engine, its range is greater.

The long-term objective is purely electrically powered driving, since this makes zero-emission driving possible. The market maturity of these electric vehicles will increase as engineers succeed in improving the energy and power density of battery technology, and as drivers become more willing to accept ranges of between 100 and 200 kilometers between recharging stops.

In combination with electric motors, gasoline hybrids emit 25 percent less CO2 than conventional gasoline engines and diesel hybrids 20 percent less than their conventional counterparts. “Of the 91 million new passenger cars and light trucks worldwide in 2015, we expect that more than three percent will be hybrid and electric vehicles,” Scheider says. However, this figure may vary considerably, depending on future legislative requirements and progress in battery technology.

These figures clearly illustrate that the combustion engine will be the dominant drive form for the next 20 years. “In the future, however, people’s individual mobility requirements will determine which drive they choose,” says Scheider. In conurbations and mega-cities, for example, the potential of electric vehicles can be exploited to the full. When it comes to medium distances, concepts with a range extender make sense. On the other hand, constant improvements to diesel and gasoline engines, with their high performance coupled with favorable consumption, mean that they will remain the technology of choice for a long time when it comes to longer distances.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, some 271,000 associates generated sales of 46.3 billion euros in fiscal 2007. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its more than 300 subsidiaries and regional companies in roughly 50 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Each year, Bosch spends more than 3 billion euros for research and development, and applies for over 3,000 patents worldwide. The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as “Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering.”

The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant up-front investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-two percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family and by Robert Bosch GmbH.

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