On September 1, 2017, Peter Tyroller, Member, Board of Management, Bosch Group, responsible for Asia Pacific, projected electrification as a future growth area in India. The small-vehicle segments will drive the transition to mass electrification, as urban dwellers seek a simple and affordable alternative to conventional standards, he had said then. Five months since, the company has already taken significant steps in that direction.
At the Bosch India Technology Exposition 2018, held in concurrence with the Auto Expo in February 2018, the company further announced its plans to significantly increase the extent of local content in its electrified portfolio in India. This will be aided by a new “Agile Project House” Bosch has set-up at its Bangalore facility. This new set-up is working on prototype development and system integration to feasibly get electric vehicles and electromobility solutions on Indian streets.
Clearly, Bosch seems buoyant about India’s move towards electromobility, and the potential the market offers to the € 78 bn global market leader. At a press meet organised to kick-off the Bosch Tech Expo, Soumitra Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Bosch Limited and President, Bosch India Group believes that its current and future portfolio of electromobility solutions will be one of the key contributing factors that will lead to a dynamic ecosystem in the country. The company remains committed to move into series production of its end-to-end electrified solutions.
As part of the Bosch Group’s global strategy on electrification, it is developing electric powertrain systems and connecting vehicles with the infrastructure and exciting services. The group has already realised more than 30 production projects for electromobility in collaboration with carmakers around the globe. In India, the company believes that all the key stakeholders must work together to drive electric mobility across the portfolio of two-, three- and four-wheelers. Mass electrification in India will first come to fleet services such as intra-city buses and logistic fleets, as well as two-wheelers, Bhattacharya said. This would be followed by personal passenger vehicles.
Bosch offers a wide range of electrification solutions for two-wheelers, with the scooter segment being the one where it sees particular potential for electromobility in India. Bosch currently has solutions within a range of 0.25 kW to 20 kW, which can enable e-scooters to accelerate from 0-45 km/h in less than five seconds, offering a range of up to 125 km. Intelligent energy recuperation and high battery safety are some of the other advantages Bosch’s electrification solutions offer. In Europe, Bosch has already grown to be a market leader in the electric two-wheeler space.
Bhattacharya said the company will soon offer end-to-end solutions including drive components and intelligent charging infrastructure, geared towards making electromobility a sustainable reality for vehicle manufacturers and fleet operators in India. For now, the company is providing scalable solutions from 0.25 kW to 300 kW across segments from two-wheelers to commercial vehicles to make the powertrain more powerful and energy efficient.
Meanwhile, as part of its Agile Project House, Bosch demonstrated an indigenously developed, fully electric high-voltage vehicle system with a 400 V, 85 kW powertrain, on a Maruti Suzuki Baleno hatchback. We did get to experience the “Bosch-powered” EV that ran on lithium-ion batteries. Although very brief, the drive helped us experience the refinement of the electric mobility solutions that Bosch Limited is bringing to the market. The agile project house is expected to increase the company’s local competence to be able to supply customised technologies for flexible, affordable and efficient urban mobility.
TECH EXPO 2018
At the Bosch Tech Expo this year, the company demonstrated technologies and solutions aimed at creating an urban environment that is free of emissions, stress, and accidents, through its offerings in the areas of automation, electrification and connectivity.
It must be noted that despite the focus on electromobility, internal combustion engines will continue to play a decisive role in the near future across global markets. IC engines continue to get cleaner, more efficient and deliver better performance. Bosch executives have maintained that the powertrain of the future will be a mix of electromobility and combustion engines. That is precisely the reason why Bosch has continued to work on improving IC engines, with advanced injection technologies, exhaust gas treatments and hybrid systems to reduce emissions and meet stringent emission norms, increase efficiency and make them more cost-effective. The company’s integrated powertrain expertise ensures optimum interaction between components and sub-systems, providing maximum system utility.
An interesting showcase at the expo was Bosch’s electric axle drive, or eAxle in short. With the eAxle, Bosch has combined three powertrain components – the electric motor, power electronics and transmission – into one modular and scalable electric drive unit, thus significantly reducing time to market. It is a compact and cost-optimised electric drive solution for battery-driven electric vehicles and hybrid applications that range from 50 kW to 300 kW. The eAxle potentially makes the powertrain far more efficient and affordable. The eAxle has very flexible components, making it suitable for a wide variety of applications across hybrids, EVs, compact cars, SUVs, and even light trucks.
The second area that Bosch focussed on was automated mobility. On display were advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) like automated emergency braking, adaptive cruise control using radar & ultrasound sensors along with ESP®, and traffic jam assist. These ADAS are enabled by data fusion and smartphone integration, making it possible for all OEMs to support the driver in complex and critical traffic situations.
Safety critical systems such as brakes would have to play a very significant role in driverless vehicles. It is important that redundancy is built into the systems as a safeguarding measure, should there be a failure. In the event of such a failure, the ESP brake control system and iBooster electromechanical brake booster can independently brake the vehicle without the driver having to intervene.
Also showcased at the expo was Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) Sensors. Bosch is the largest manufacturer of MEMS technology in the world, producing close to four million MEMS sensors every day. These MEMS sensors send safety signals to the drivers – be it airbag- or ESP-related movements.
India accounts for the highest number of road/ traffic-related deaths, and two-wheelers account for a bulk of those fatalities. From that context, ensuring the safety of two-wheeler riders is of paramount importance. The Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) is the world’s first all-in-one safety system for two-wheelers that provides safer braking over bends, or even on straight roads. Displayed at the Tech Expo, MSC would be an ideal technology for the Indian market.
The third area the Tech Expo focussed on was connected technologies, primarily Bosch’s emergency call service, or e-Call. It service proactively connects accident victims with the emergency response ecosystem in the shortest possible time. This service has been operational since 2017 and aims to help accident victims in the ‘golden hour’ by connecting hospitals, fire stations and police stations. The Bosch PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) network currently covers over 50,000 hospitals, 9,560 police stations and 4,500+ fire stations. Bosch is adding more numbers by the day to create a proactive pan-India e-Call network, the company stated.
Also on offer was the breakdown call or b-Call. In the event of a breakdown, the service centre can be contacted at the press of the b-Call button. The service centre then contacts a garage or towing service and provides information on the current status of the vehicle. The information call (i-Call), on the other hand, is one that contacts the service centre, who in turn books the requested service and gives the rider the necessary feedback.
Bosch Limited is working on creating a holistic ecosystem for EVs and charging infrastructure in India. While it is drawing on the Bosch Group’s worldwide solutions portfolio, localisation and development of such innovative solutions particularly suited to the Indian market has been a priority for the company. As Jan Oliver Röhrl, CTOand Director, Bosch Limited said, as a Tier 1 supplier, it is the company’s responsibility to come up with solutions. “We are not going to wait for the policy to develop new solutions. We cannot be fence sitters,” he said.
TEXT: Deepangshu Dev Sarmah