Bosch’s glimpse into small electric cars but personal cars last to adopt electrification in India

Bosch recently displayed future automotive technologies specifically aimed at the Indian market. There was also a small electric car to drive for us with Bosch technologies so here's what technologies to expect in India over the next few years.

By: | Updated: February 22, 2018 2:28 PM
Small electric car isn't made by Bosch and only features technologies from Bosch Small electric car isn't made by Bosch and only features technologies from Bosch

Bosch India recently organised the Bosch Technology Exposition 2018 in New Delhi, where the focus was quite obviously on electric mobility. The highlight of the event was a brief driving experience of a small electric car based on Bosch technologies. While the focus was on electric vehicles, drive systems and the related infrastructure, Bosch also talked about its conventional power train systems, connected mobility and automated mobility. The key talk point of the event was the effort of finding/ developing technologies that can provide sustainable mobility solutions in India. Finding these solutions is of paramount importance for India, as more people than ever move into urban areas, thereby putting more pressure on the already stressed infrastructure of our metro cities. The technologies shown at the Bosch Technology Exposition 2018 gave us an insight into how automotive technologies can realistically improve our lives by reducing the extent of problems such as traffic jams, accidents, connectivity and convenience. Among the multiple technologies shown at the event, here are the most interesting and important ones.

Electric Mobility

Small electric cars are the future for India but personal cars will be the last to get electrified. Small electric cars are the future for India but personal cars will be the last to get electrified.

India's requirements for mobility and vehicles have always been vastly different from that in other parts of the world. Keeping this in mind, Bosch has set up an “Agile Project House” in India to address local electric vehicle requirements in a better way. The project house will focus on developing prototypes and integrating systems for electric vehicle solutions designed for India. At the centre stage of this display was a brief drive of a small electric car with systems developed by Bosch. While the car we drove started its life as a Maruti Suzuki Baleno, it had been converted into an electric car by Bosch India, showcasing technologies such as a 400-Volt 85 kW electric power train. At this point, one must note that Bosch does not engage in vehicle manufacturing and only showcased its various technologies through this demo vehicles. The idea was to display the wide bandwidth of technologies that Bosch has on offer for OEMs in India looking at going the electric route.

One can view the car data including battery status and power transfer for the Bosch-powered electric on a tablet.

The electric car, loaded with the weight of Li-ion batteries was sitting quite low, especially on its rear axle. The brief drive of the car made it clear that small electric cars too can be fun as full torque was available from zero rpm. Acceleration was brisk but the lack of sound from the electric motor was a bit strange and will take some conditioning to get used to. Nonetheless, the brief drive made it clear that if electric cars can overcome issues such as range, charging time and cost, the driving experience is already up there with internal-combustion engine cars.

That said, personal passenger vehicles will be one of the last vehicle segments to adopt mass-electrification. Speaking further on the subject, Soumitra Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Bosch Limited and President, Bosch India Group, said that electrification in India will first come to fleet services such as intra-city buses, logistic fleets and two-wheelers.

Two-wheelers will be one of the first vehicles to adopt mass-market electrification in India Two-wheelers will be one of the first vehicles to adopt mass-market electrification in India

In the two-wheeler space, Bosch has solutions within a range of 0.25kW to 20kW, which can enable e-scooters to accelerate from 0-45 km/h in under five seconds and offer a range of up to 125 km, which should suffice for almost all types of usage.

Continued Focus on IC Engines

Despite the looming shift towards electric mobility, IC engines will continue to be the mainstay of global mobility for some years. Hence, Bosch has continued its focus on Internal Combustion Engines ICE) with the development of technologies for advanced injection and exhaust gas treatment. Besides, the company has also worked on hybrid systems in order to meet the stricter emission norms and at the same time, make the engines more fuel efficient. The company's powertrain solutions make sure that there is a higher interaction between the subsystems and components that should eventually result in maximum system utility, which is critical for extracting maximum efficiency.

Given the increased focus on electric vehicles through the Government of India's 2030 EV vision, Bosch has developed an eAxle, a compact electric drive solution that can be used in battery-powered electric vehicles and applications that operate between 50kW and 300kW. Bosch eAxle combines power electronics, transmission and electric motor into a scalable electric drive unit that can be used for multiple applications.

Driver Assistance Systems

MSC enhances rider safety by providing the net of traction control even around corners and not just straights. MSC enhances rider safety by providing the net of traction control even around corners and not just straights.

Bosch continued its focus on driver assistance systems, considering the advances in automated driving. The company's iBooster increases the performance of dynamic braking functions like automatic emergency braking used in electric vehicles. Bosch ESP helps in preventing locking up of wheels during braking and also in avoiding skidding under slippery road and driving conditions.

Bosch also deals in Micro Electromechanical Systems (MEMS) sensors that send critical information like ESP related movements relating to airbags and other safety signals to the driver. The brand produces a whopping 4 million MEMS sensors per day that play an important role in saving lives and resources.

For two-wheelers as well, Bosch has left no stone upturned in terms of safety. The company has developed Motorcycle Stability Control (MSC) that ensures safe braking over corners. The system delivers brake force distribution in an optimized manner in order to ensure safe and effective braking in all situations. The prime USP of Bosch MSC is that it does not compromise on riding pleasure while offering braking safety on bends as well as straights. Furthermore, Bosch offers features such as adaptive cruise control, traffic jam assist and predictive emergency braking that not only ups the safety quotient but also enhances the driving comfort.

Conclusion

Bosch is the world's largest automotive supplier and hence it comes as no surprise that it has a wide and diversified range of technologies suiting present as well as future mobility requirements. The Bosch Technology Exposition 2018 made it clear that electrification of mobility in India is a reality that no one can deny. Technologies that might sound futuristic aren't really far away on the horizon and it's only a matter of a few years before we see an increased usage of electric vehicles on Indian roads.

One might argue that electric vehicles' success is directly proportional to the health of the supporting infrastructure, which is an almost untouched area for us presently. While the argument is true, the Government seems more enthusiastic about electric mobility than ever. We were one of the last countries to adopt mobile phones but today are one of the most advanced markets in the world. Electric mobility too could be such an opportunity for us. Bosch through this event proved that the German supplier is already geared up to help such OEMs to fast track their development and make Indian mobility greener and sustainable. What we need now is a well-coordinated and phased approach from all stakeholders of the Indian automotive industry if we are to give cleaner air and smarter cities to our future generations in reality and not in talks only.

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