While less than expected electric-vehicle sales in many parts of the world have many industry watchers pooh-poohing the growth prospects for plug-in cars, German component maker Bosch sees a bright future.

The company, which among other things makes components for EVs like the Fiat 500e, expects the typical single-charge range on an EV to more than double by the end of the decade. Specifically, Bosch says the typical range for an EV will be in the 180-mile range, compared to the average range of 75 to 85 miles for cars like the Nissan Leaf today. The higher-priced Tesla Model S is obviously a current exception, with a range of 265 miles.

Bosch says it will be part of the EV advancements by investing more than $500 million a year in improving electromobility. Either way, plug-ins will become what Bosch says will be "a mass market" by 2020. You can read Bosch's rather optimistic press release below.
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Bosch encourages standards in connectivity
  • Electromobility could gradually become a mass market from 2020
  • Technology of the future is already in series production
  • Electric driving requires networked technology and services
  • Focus on batteries: minimum 300 kilometer range in 2020
  • Electromobility requires commitment to education
May 27, 2013

Stuttgart – Bosch is betting on the future of the electric drive. "Electromobility is currently still a niche business, but after 2020 it could very well become a mass market," said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, at a panel discussion on the topic of "research and development perspectives in electromobility" in Berlin on Monday evening. To accommodate this development, Bosch is bringing the technology of the future into series production today.

Currently, Bosch is lending its support to the first series production projects such as the Fiat 500e, and is also manufacturing components for advanced plug-in hybrid drives from Porsche and other automakers. This type of electric drive is becoming increasingly popular among buyers. With an eye to the future, Bosch invests some 400 million euros in electromobility research and development each year. The focus is on what will benefit customers in everyday use: "I expect that by 2020, electric cars will have a range of at least 300 kilometers," Denner said.

Electric driving requires networked technology and services
Denner also stressed that electromobility will extend to more than just cars: "Electric vehicles will be connected vehicles, exchanging information with their environments. This connectivity improves safety as well as driver comfort." However, there is currently a lack of a general standard for data exchange. Only when all vehicles use the same communication interfaces will it be possible to make services available for all drivers.

The technology group is also preparing for the future in this respect. Denner gave the example of the Hubject project, in which Bosch is helping to establish a comprehensive charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. Here, perspectives extend beyond Germany. In the growing megacities of emerging markets, electromobility in conjunction with an intelligent network could help to solve a lot of problems.

Electromobility requires commitment to education
One challenge will need to be confronted in the next few years: "In order to achieve the kind of solutions that electromobility requires, we need well-educated employees," Denner said. To this end, Bosch is active in initiatives such as partnerships between the Robert Bosch Center for Power Electronics and the universities of Reutlingen and Stuttgart. Denner argued that other institutes of higher education as well as training organizations should include electromobility in their curriculums. In this context, he also underlined the necessity of increasing the number of women in technical trades.
Automotive Technology is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2012, its sales came to 31.1 billion euros, or 59 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. Its roughly 177,000 Automotive Technology associates worldwide mainly work in the following areas of business: injection technology for internal-combustion engines, alternative powertrain concepts, efficient and networked powertrain peripherals, systems for active and passive driving safety, assistance and comfort functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as car-to-car and Car2X communication, and concepts, technology, and service for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch has been responsible for important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP® anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In fiscal 2012, its roughly 306,000 associates generated sales of 52.5 billion euros. Since the beginning of 2013, its operations have been divided into four business sectors: Automotive Technology, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 360 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 50 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.8 billion euros for research and development in 2012, and applied for nearly 4,800 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group's products and services are designed to fascinate, and to improve the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial. In this way, the company offers technology worldwide that is "Invented for life."

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