The current weakness of the global automotive market is by no means a short-term dent – for the next few years, the Bosch boss expects stagnation. “The development of diesel vehicles is hitting us particularly hard; the market share of diesel engines for passenger cars is declining sharply,” Denner said in the interview. Bosch has a high market share in electrical and electronic equipment for diesel engines, both in passenger cars and trucks. But the recession is only affecting the passenger car sector, Denner said. Nevertheless, he expects significant job cuts. “It will have an impact on employees, especially in the diesel plants,” said Denner.
Nevertheless, from Denner’s perspective, the diesel engine is not a phase-out model. This engine type will continue to be superior to the gasoline engine in terms of fuel consumption and thus climate balance, he said. And what about the diesel scandal? “We have solved the nitrogen oxide problem of the diesel engine.”
Even though the electric motor will come more to the fore in the future – the combustion engine will not die out so quickly, the Bosch boss was convinced. From market studies and discussions with major customers, he knew that 75% of all new cars in 2030 would still be equipped with a combustion engine – notwithstanding the statements of various OEMs that they would focus much more on electric drive in the future. This leads to the conclusion that many of the cars of the future will be equipped with a hybrid drive.
R&D focus on fuel cell
Nevertheless, Bosch is also working intensively on electric drives. After his disappointing experience with solid-state batteries and startup-company Seeo, which specializes in this technology, the electric giant’s enthusiasm for battery-powered drives seems to have cooled somewhat. Denner spoke out in favor of open-ended and technology-neutral research in the field of electric drives and indicated a preference for fuel cell drives. “The electricity for the electric cars does not necessarily have to come from the battery, it can also be generated by a fuel cell,” explained Denner. He also regards the fuel cell as an interesting alternative for air, ship and heavy goods traffic. The same applies to e-fuels (power-to-liquid).
Beyond the powertrain, Bosch is working intensively on AI and AI applications in vehicles and industry. At the forthcoming IAA motor show (September 12-22, Frankfurt, Germany), Bosch intends to present the first front camera that “understands what it sees”. According to Denner, this camera will soon be installed in a series vehicle.