HAYWARD, Calif. & STUTTGART, Germany--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bosch is debuting a new battery technology for electric cars that could be production-ready in as little as five years. “Bosch is using its knowledge and considerable financial resources to achieve a breakthrough for electromobility,” said Dr. Volkmar Denner, the chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH. The acquisition of the U.S. start-up Seeo Inc. (Hayward, CA near the Silicon Valley) will help make this possible. In addition to its own development in the area of battery technology, Bosch now has crucial know-how in innovative solid-state cells for lithium batteries as well as exclusive patents. “Solid-state cells could be a breakthrough technology,” Denner said. “Disruptive start-up technology is meeting the broad systems knowledge and financial resources of a multinational company.” Up to now, the declared industry target has been to double batteries’ energy density and halve their costs by the end of this decade. With the new solid-state cells, Bosch sees the potential to more than double energy density by 2020, and at the same time reduce the costs considerably further. A comparable electric car that has a driving range today of 150 kilometers would be able to travel more than 300 kilometers without recharging – and at a lower cost.
Strategic expansion of existing battery research
The acquisition of Seeo Inc. fits seamlessly into Bosch’s electromobility strategy. Bosch already offers a wide range of components for electromobility, from motors and power electronics to batteries. So far, Bosch has realized 30 production projects related to electromobility. At the same time, engineers are working on further refining the technology, and in doing so, making electromobility a more practical proposition. After all, by 2025, the company forecasts that roughly 15 percent of all new cars built worldwide to have at least a hybrid powertrain. In Europe, more than a third of all new cars will be electrically powered – the majority as plug-in hybrids. To this end, in 2014 Bosch joined GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation in establishing the joint venture Lithium Energy and Power GmbH & Co. KG, whose objective is to develop a more powerful generation of lithium-ion batteries. Seeo Inc.’s technology complements the work done thus far with Bosch’s Japanese partners. The result will be a combination of groundbreaking start-up technology with Bosch’s systems and technology know-how, GS Yuasa’s cell competence, and Mitsubishi Corporation’s broad industrial base.
Bosch has first samples
For years, automakers and suppliers have been trying to create more powerful batteries. Cells are an important building block – the battery of an electric car consists of numerous interconnected cells. Cells are thus a substantial part of the value-added. The performance of an energy storage device can be improved with various methods. For example, in cell chemistry, the material that the positive and negative poles (cathode and anode) are made of plays a major role. In current lithium-ion batteries, one of the reasons energy capacity is limited is because the anode consists to a large degree of graphite. Using solid-state technology, Bosch can manufacture the anode out of pure lithium, which considerably increases storage capacity. In addition, the new cells function without ionic liquid, which means they are not flammable. “The pure lithium anode represents a huge innovative leap in battery cell construction,” Denner said. Thanks to its acquisition of Seeo Inc., Bosch now possesses the first sample cells which have the potential to meet the high standards of the automotive industry where durability and safety are concerned.
Press photos: 1-BBM-21511-e, 1-BBM-21559, 1-BBM-21560
Mobility Solutions is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2014, its sales came to 33.3 billion euros, or 68 percent of total group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading automotive suppliers. The Mobility Solutions business sector combines the group’s expertise in three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and offers its customers integrated mobility solutions. Its main areas of activity are injection technology and powertrain peripherals for internal-combustion engines, diverse solutions for powertrain electrification, vehicle safety systems, driver-assistance and automated functions, technology for user-friendly infotainment as well as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, repair-shop concepts, and technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with 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. It employs roughly 360,000 associates worldwide (as per April 1, 2015). The company generated sales of 49 billion euros in 2014.* Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including its sales and service partners, Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2014, Bosch applied for some 4,600 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.”
*The sales figure disclosed for 2014 does not include the former joint ventures BSH Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH (now BSH Hausgeräte GmbH) and ZF Lenksysteme GmbH (now Robert Bosch Automotive Steering GmbH), which have since been taken over completely.