Truck Powertrain Drives Bosch Global Growth

By APA Bureau:

Robert Bosch GmbH, or Bosch, a world leading multinational engineering and electronics company headquartered in Gerlingen, Stuttgart, Germany, is continuously progressing on its growth track. This year, the company’s mobility business from day-to-day sales is expected to increase by four percent. It will continue to grow twice as fast as automotive production. Bosch generates one-fourth of its sales revenue from technology for commercial vehicles, ranging from vans to 40-tonne trucks. Its business with solutions for trucks and off-highway vehicles is growing at seven to eight percent.
According to the VDA data, in 2017, sales of heavy trucks grew by eight percent in China, 18 percent in the US, and 45 percent in India. “As road freight evolves to face the future, Bosch offers both commercial and technological strength in equal measure,” Dr. Rolf Bulander, Chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector of Robert Bosch GmbH, said.
The major driver is its powertrain business for commercial vehicles. Global sales of diesel injection systems grew by one-third in 2017 alone, and even faster in China. In the years ahead, these sales will stabilise on a high level. The logistics sector faces a series of challenges like climate protection, air pollution, urbanisation, and driver shortage. Added to these will be the projected jump in road freight by another 50 percent by 2040 (source: Shell). “All that we can do is to minimise the impact on the environment, people, and the road network,” Bulander said. Bosch has technical solutions, including connected services, that go even beyond the vehicles. “We want trucks to be beasts of burden, but not a burden for others,” he said.

Transition To Fuel Cells

From combustion engines to fuel cells, Bosch is bringing energy to the powertrain. The company is developing both diesel and alternative powertrain solutions for commercial vehicles to make them more efficient by reducing fuel consumption and emissions of CO2 and NOX. “For many years to come, the development of commercial-vehicle powertrains will involve a number of disciplines. We would be well advised to approach their electrification with a technologically open mind,” Bulander said.
Bosch has set itself the goal of being the international market leader in electro-mobility. To this end, the company offers appropriate solutions and has a broad portfolio for the electrification of commercial vehicles: the 36-volt power packs for cargo e-bikes, e-axle for delivery vans, and fuel-cell powertrains for 40-tonne trucks.
Bosch is developing the latter in partnership with the US start-up Nikola Motor Company. The company has also entered into a strategic partnership with Weichai Power, a Chinese manufacturer of engines for commercial vehicles, to promote the uptake of fuel cells. It ensures that the new vehicles are electrically-driven and also offers electro-mobility as a retrofit, with an electrified axle that can be integrated into semitrailers.

Teaching Trucks To Drive

Another major growth area alongside electrification is the automation of commercial vehicles. In both areas, the signs are set for double-digit market growth over the next decade. Bosch sees driver assistance as a step along the way to automated driving, and to avoid accidents. The turn assistant, blind-spot recognition, and predictive emergency braking system help prevent truck accidents. The company offers the necessary radar sensors among other products.
Commercial-vehicle driving, for want of drivers, presents further challenges for the transportation industry. Bosch sees a great deal of potential in hub-to-hub automation: driverless trucks shuttling between depots. This technology along with platooning has the potential to resolve several transportation industry problems. It also means that legislation, technology, and infrastructure have to satisfy more stringent requirements. The company is involved in major EU research projects in the field.

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