The Automotive Drive of the Future

Jan. 1, 2020
BOXBERG, GERMANY - What will the vehicle drive of the future look like in five, 10 and 20 years' time? " For over 100 years, consideration of that question has sparked Bosch's ability to be a major force in the development of the automobile" says Dr.
The Automotive Drive of the Future 

BOXBERG, GERMANY  - What will the vehicle drive of the future look like in five, 10 and 20 years' time? " For over 100 years, consideration of that question has sparked Bosch's ability to be a major force in the development of the automobile" says Dr. Rolf Leonhard, executive vice president for Engineering, Diesel Systems, Robert Bosch GmbH. He identifies lower emissions, alternative drives and renewable fuels as the three key elements of the road map to the vehicle of the future that Bosch will focus on over the next two decades.

Pollution-free mobility
While climate change and carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions have only recently become the focus of public debate, Bosch has been tackling this concern for quite some time. The issues being examined include CO2 emissions, climate and environmental protection, and diminishing fossil-fuel resources - with the focus firmly on the role of the car in all these areas. Leonhard notes that Bosch already has solutions for immediate challenges, and the company is investing a considerable amount of effort in finding solutions for future, unresolved questions. "We are pursuing the ideal of pollutant-free mobility," Leonhard asserts. "Nevertheless, it is already clear that in 20 years' time, the internal combustion engine will still be the drive of choice for the car."  He shares that while a great deal of development potential remains, the big difference is that there will be more alternative fuels to gasoline and diesel. Alternative drives will also begin to make a bigger impact in smaller market segments. The combustion engine still has unrealized development potential

Leonhard says that Bosch is working on automotive evolution in four different ways. Engineers are unlocking the potential of the internal combustion engine - potential that is still far from exhausted. This applies equally to both diesel and gasoline engines. 
New technologies for the internal combustion engine provide the basis for using alternative fuels, produced synthetically or from renewable raw materials.  "Everyone involved is pulling in the same direction in this area - suppliers like us, engine developers, the petroleum industry, and so on," says Leonhard. In addition, hybrid concepts and intelligent technology in every aspect of the drivetrain will help the car and the internal combustion engine become increasingly clean and efficient. Leonhard reports that Bosch also sees growing opportunities in niche segments for electric drives. Although several development stages involving transitional technologies remain, Bosch foresees using a fuel cell as an energy converter to replace the internal combustion engine. Diesel technology is ready for prime-time"Where should we focus our efforts in order to unlock this potential?" Leonhard poses. "First of all, let's take a look at the internal combustion engine, and more particularly, the diesel." He explains that modern direct-injection diesel engines consume around 30 percent less fuel than similar conventional gasoline engines that rely on port injection systems. This results in CO2 emissions that are about 25 percent lower. 

Consequently, the energy efficiency of diesel makes it a more environmentally friendly vehicle drive system, he says: "That is why Bosch will do everything it can to help diesel break through in North America and Asia as well, following its success in Europe." 

Bosch engineers already have their sights firmly fixed on these more stringent emissions targets, Leonhard notes, and they will provide the right technical solution at the right time, even for challenging values such as these. 

"We will meet these targets by developing specific technologies in the internal workings of the engine, such as technology that allows higher charge-air pressure in the exhaust-gas turbocharger with higher exhaust gas recirculation rates at part load, that further optimize the combustion process," he says.

While the automobile industry now has diesel particulates under control, tackling concerns regarding even stricter nitrogen oxide emissions, in both North America and Europe, remains the challenge. On the one hand, says Leonhard, optimized injection technology is enabling Bosch to reduce the engine's "raw emissions" - that is, before post-treatment in the exhaust gas flow. On the other hand, the additional diesel particulate filter is cutting soot emissions to such an extent that even-stricter emission limits will be attainable in the future. 

"As of 2009, Bosch's product portfolio will boast a new generation of diesel particulate filters," Leonhard says, "making it the one-stop supplier for diesel technology and corresponding exhaust gas treatment systems - both optimally attuned to one other." 

(Source: Robert Bosch GmbH)

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