India to be on par with developed countries for hydrogen vehicle adoption

Bosch, at its annual conference, revealed details of its investments and acquisitions,along with its future plans for hydrogen-powered vehicles for India that it aims to start testing in 2025-26.

Tier 1 supplier Bosch India held its annual conference on Thursday, highlighting its performance for FY2022. The German company reported a healthy growth of 21.2 percent in revenue over FY2021. Bosch’s investment for the year 2021-22 stood at Rs 302 crores while registering a profit (PBT) of Rs 1,500 crore, up by 14.4 percent compared to the previous year.

Present at the conference was Soumitra Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Bosch and President, Bosch Group, India, and of Bosch .

Soumitra Bhattacharya, MD, Bosch said that India’s automotive market will grow despite the demand and supply challenges. “Now with the China lockdown, there is a strong possibility of the prolongation of the Ukraine, Russia war to continue, which will impact different parts of the world, including India.”

He pointed out that the ongoing semiconductor shortage started around two years ago and many companies are still depending on Tier 1 suppliers like Bosch. Giving an example of the vehicle ECU he said, “ECU is a very typical example of the electronic control unit, which also has these chips because, without these chips, we can’t do it.” He said while production is in progress, it is not operating at full capacity.

Guruprasad Mudlapur, Joint MD and CTO added, “An electronic control unit has about 75 percent import content and out of these, close to 50 percent belongs to semiconductors. He said that the situation can continue into next year. “Today expansion is limited by the ability for the semiconductor companies to procure machinery to build the semiconductor. They need to bring in the capex and that capex itself is the biggest limitation.”


Investments and acquisitions

Elaborating on India plans Bosch had announced earlier this year, Bhattacharya said that new investment will go towards two key areas and that they will not be proportionate amounts. He said that the company will be investing in the digital mobility space.

Bosch is the largest tier-one supplier for electric mobility or overall acquisitions globally. Mudlapur said, “Coming to India, we have just started the journey in India, and we have acquisitions in the two-wheeler segment. We are supplying components to them and are now working towards acquisitions in the passenger car market with leading OEMs in India.”

The company will continue its electrification journey in the commercial vehicle segment moving forward. Mudlapur added, “I would say in the Indian context, it’s still a very small step, but in the coming years, we should start to see our market share increase.”

Hydrogen as a fuel for choice

The Tier 1 supplier has also forayed into the green hydrogen market and announced its plans to make electrolysers that will help convert water to hydrogen. At the same time, Bosch will also develop injectors to be used in ICE vehicles to supply hydrogen to the engine.

“We already have a full portfolio developed over the last seven or eight years, and are now being deployed in pilot volumes all over the world,” We already have fuel cell electric vehicles running in China, the US, and Europe as ’pilot project,” added Mudlapur,

The executive added, “When will it come into India? This is something we’re working on together with OEMs. We are also working with ecosystem developers, and hydrogen, as you know, is not something which will run on today’s infrastructure. We need the hydrogen fueling stations to come in.”

Bosch is confident that India will not lag behind any of the advanced countries when it comes to deploying hydrogen-powered vehicles. The company is looking at deploying hydrogen-fuelled vehicles as early as 2025-26, as soon as the market and infrastructure is ready. 

Why is Hydrogen the next big move for the automotive industry?

Hydrogen as a fuel carries much more density compared to electric vehicles on the road today. Also, given that Hydrogen is abundant and has no tailpipe emissions, the automotive industry looks to make giant leaps in developments in this area. Taking into consideration that refueling time is much shorter compared to recharging a  battery pack, and at present, there are pipelines that carry LPG and CNG over long distances, Hydrogen has several advantages.   

Reliance has invested in manufacturing Hydrogen in India and aims to be the largest producer globally in the next 12 to 14 months. Taking the government’s interest in the same, India is not far behind when it comes to infrastructure either. 

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