Bosch steps on the gas for traction battery development

December 13, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Bosch group is moving ahead with the reorganization of its lithium-ion traction battery operations. Effective immediately, the former operating units SB LiMotive Germany GmbH in Stuttgart and Cobasys LLC based in Orion, Michigan, will be folded into the Bosch Group as a wholly owned subsidiary. The entity has been baptized Robert Bosch Battery Systems.

The company intends to speed and intensify the development of traction batteries for electric and hybrid electric vehicles. All development projects underway in the former joint venture with Samsung will be continued, the company said Samsung will even remain a part of the game - the parties have agreed that Samsung SDI will supply the cells for the traction batteries. Bosch however will have the option to use cells from other manufacturers as well. The Fiat 500e, which was recently unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show and will go into series production in 2013, is the first all-electric vehicle with a Bosch battery pack.

Currently, Bosch is concentrating on the battery system and in particular battery management and matching energy storage to the vehicle as a whole, which includes all aspects of mechanical and electronic integration - a tasks that exactly fits Bosch's classical competencies. Efficiency and performance of electric vehicles depend on obtaining the optimum interaction of all electric and electronic components and managing major battery variables such as temperature or state of charge so that they meet the specific requirements of different situations. Developments in these areas can deliver significant improvements in range and charging time, which are the decisive factors for the success of electric vehicles.

As part of their continued cooperation, the former joint venture partners have agreed to give each other access to the related patents. On this basis, Bosch plans to develop new generations of cells and the production methods for more efficient and economical energy storage. This development involves Bosch researchers, current engineering work on maritime applications, and Bosch process technology and manufacturing specialists, in close cooperation with selected partners.

In this context, Bosch said it is spending some 400 million euros a year for R&D related to electromobility. Currently more than 1,100 employees in the Bosch group are associated to electromobility-related R&D tasks - including roughly 500 battery specialists in Germany,