Bosch: Electric Cars A Decade or More Away


Bosch, the world’s biggest auto parts supplier, believes that electric
cars will dominate the global car market—but not until 2030. Speaking at
an automotive seminar in Stuttgart, Bosch chairman Bernd Bohr said the
major hurdle for electric cars remains the weight and cost of batteries.
But Bosch is confident that by 2015 it will cut weight by around 30
percent and the cost by nearly half. But the costs will have to come
down even further before electric cars will go mainstream, according to
the company.

“The electric car will come, but in small numbers at first,” said Bohr.
“It will occupy a niche and will not make a noticeable mark on the roads
until after 2020.” Bohr believes electric cars will be most successful in
Asia’s densely populated regions, and in some European and American
cities. “By 2015, we expect to see a sales volume of some 500,000 electric
vehicles worldwide.” He sees that number rising to 3 million units by
2020, with Prius-style hybrids accounting for about five million units per

“At Bosch, we are investing heavily in making these visions a reality,”
said Bohr. Bosch currently employs 400 engineers to work on electric drive
technology, and is developing hybrid technology planned for production in

Bosch expects the vast majority of cars in 2020 to still use gas- and
diesel-powered engines—although they will utilize downsizing and turbo
technology to boost efficiency by as much as 50 percent.

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  • nick66

    BY 2020 the amount of OIL that pumped every day will be down 25% minimum.
    The demand will rise.
    So the forecasts are wrong, ELECRIC cars will dominate sooner
    than 2030

  • Audi-A2-driver

    hi nick66,

    the problem is the cost for an electric car: IMHO, when electric cars would be pushed in the market to strong, they would cost 50% – 100% more than a comparable normal car. At least, when the electric car should provide a feasible range, safety and reliability.

    And regarding to the combustion engine and conventional cars, there is still great potential for improvement left:
    CAI/HCCI, variable cylinder management, improved seilinger process using twin-turbos, improved operating point due to hybridisation, weight-optimized materials, regererative exhaust management, acceleration prediction based on route planner and car cross-linking …

    As far as I understand the market, for a fast roll-out of the electric car the “pricing pressure” of the oil should be more aprupt. On the other way, a deliberate market penetration with hybrid cars as “intermediate state” can reduce the price to a suitable level.

    For me it seems the best to let the sports car ethusiast go first and build (already) expensive car, where the additional weight and cost of hybridisation and HV battery is neglectable. Then, with increasing number of sold cars, the effort will go down naturally and the technology will be ready for the rest of us. 😉

  • Anonymous

    I think when Bosch is referring to “electric cars” they are referring to
    BEV cars that do not have any sort of range extender. Therefore, in order to get a 400 mile range, you would need a 100 kWh battery. Currently, the cost per kWh is about $750 with the expectation that the cost will be cut in half within 4 years (2013). That is still 37,500 worth of battery. So the BEV is a long way off.

    But the Plug-in Hybrid with a 40 mile range for our daily commutes is right around the corner. 15 kWh at $375 each($5625) is doable and then the small range extender could be 70 kW or so, just about what the Volt provides. Vehicles like this will dominate the market by 2020, watch and see.

  • Jeddy

    To heck with Bosch …

    How’s about fuel cell cars? Did everyone forget, or did the boogeyman come for them as well?

    I’m not waiting for Bosch … neither should the world.

    Letting corporations dictate the pace is like letting tobacco manufacturers decide when people should stop smoking …

  • Miron

    If there is a market, there is an answer.

  • sean t

    IMHO, fuel cell cars are much more expensive than electric cars.

  • Anonymous

    Considering the growing use of oil globally (America alone is using 25% of the world’s supply), one should really consider the possibility of scarcity within the next 7-10 years.

    Bottom line is…for pure electric vehicles, the cost of the battery (needed to meet the needs of real-world driving…) is going to be WAY more than the average consumer will be able to afford. Like with all technology, until it becomes affordable, it will be sold in niche, not in mass.

    And we haven’t even talked about infrastructure (charging capacity, impact to energy grids, disposal, etc..)

    Fuel cells? its gonna be a while..

  • jrg

    Hydrogen is a very inefficient energy storage technology. If you look at total energy from they hydrogen plant to the motor in your car, a hydrogen fuel cell uses something like 3x the energy that a battery powered car uses. i.e. its not going to happen until that figures comes way down. There are some exotic hydrogen production ideas being researched, but nothing on even a far horizon at this time. I was glad to see the feds pull funding for fuel cells.

  • NICK66

    the efficiency from grid to hydrogen is 75-85%
    from H2 tank to wheels is 60% (Honda fcx-clarity)
    total efficiency is about 45%
    for battery powered cars is <85%

  • Tom Me

    These are really projections, based on a limited amount of data. So I would treat them as *HIGHLY* subject to change. The limited data includes some golf cart style EVs, the Tesla, a few others sold in limited markets.

    For Bosch and others in the auto biz, they are simply doing long term thinking (GREAT). If I read a report of this as Bosch upper management, I’d interpret this as the author saying s/he expects this to be a huge market, and recommends we have engineering staff today developing products. That’s really their big decision right now.

    For auto manufacturers, it’s time to produce some sort of 100+ mile EV. The market has said (look at Tesla’s success) that it will support premium priced EVs. IMO, time for any large auto company to have at least one all electric car coming out in the next few years… something like the upcoming Dodge Circuit, Ford Fusion EV, Cooper EV, etc. That will let them play well in the market for the next 4-5 years. Beyond that, planning is more wait and see..but they will have a viable product to use for experience, and time to react.

    Bottom line.. enough evidence to get moving on some practical products.. don’t make too much of projections.. time to react later, as long as one is in the market “soon”.

  • Sherwood

    Audi –
    There are full-service electric cars (sedans) that will be produced in the next 1-2 years for under $20,000 and even more that will be produced under $30-35,000 (some with ranges of 250-400 miles)! The Tesla has done a disservice to EVs by making it all look expensive. Furthermore, lithium batteries that are safer, more efficient, lighter, and more effective are probably only a few years off.
    The ongoing problem with EVs is AVAILABILITY – this is the key word. If it can be done well and at a reasonable price, but is only available for governmental fleets, etc. and not to the public, what is the point. The solution is that we need to demand access to this technology.
    Jeddy – fuel cells are a joke. There is not (and never will be) adequate infrastructure, unlike electricity which is everywhere and batteries which are portable. Furthermore, hydrogen is really just a storage device for energy that is produced by . . . electricity. So why take a useful, readily available form of energy and use it to split water into an explosive, unavailable form for storage when you could just use the electricity? (Or, alternatively, you could go back to using fossil fuels for hydrogen production – thanks a lot). Fuel cells are an unrealistic option that was promoted by Bush and the US auto industry because they KNEW that it was unrealistic but could be used as a greenwashing of the industry and the government while preserving the status quo. Anyone who bought into the idea was duped . . .
    Lastly, I agree that there is a HUGE amount of existing technology that would improve existing vehicles – many of which were listed in a subsequent comment, but excluded CVT (continuously variable transmission) which is AWESOME . . . unless you prefer manual shift, of course . . . and also just making cars lighter. Why was detroit pursuing fuel cells instead of existing technology to improve their existing cars? See above . . . THEY DON’T CARE!!! (Unless someone makes them – ie the government or you and I demand it.)

  • Dyno

    This is really an interesting topic.