Bosch CEO talks lithium ion batteries and diesels

In the wake of a new lithium ion battery joint venture, Bernd Bohr, CEO of Bosch is not concerned that automakers will try to keep battery production in house. In an interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport, Bohr was asked about the fact that several automakers including Toyota, Mitsubishi and Nissan are involved in their own joint ventures for lithium batteries. Bosch is investing $300-400 million in a venture with Samsung to produce automotive lithium batteries. Bohr feels it will take 10-15 years for lithium batteries to become dominant so the company still has the opportunity to come to the forefront of the technology and play a leading role. While the Samsung will start with Korean production Bohr intends to eventually expand to other locations as well. By the time lithium batteries become mainstream in electric vehicles, Bohr expects the energy density to increase by a factor of 3-5 times. With Bosch's experience in power tools and appliances the company already has plenty of in-house motor technology that they are now applying to hybrid and electric drive systems. By 2015 Bohr expects hybrids to account for about 2.5-3 million vehicles annually with another 800,000 battery electrics.
Before electrics take over the world though, Bohr expects diesel engines to pick up another five points of market share taking 28 percent of the global market by mid-decade. In spite of elevated diesel prices right now, Bohr believes that diesel will be the only way to meet coming CO2 emissions standards and taxes in the near to mid-term. According to Bohr investments are being made to increase diesel refining capacity that will alleviate the price pressures by 2010. Bohr mentioned that HCCI engines could appear in production before 2015 which will also help reduce consumption and emissions. Bosch is also focusing on large volumes of the most cost-effective methods such as auto start-stop systems which are expected to be on 50 percent of European cars by 2012.

[Source: Auto Motor und Sport]

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