It's the last thing you'd think about in the summer, but the industry can thank a German supplier for the technology that changed the way people start their vehicles.
On a wintry morning, you no longer have to pump your accelerator or pull a choke knob to get fuel to the engine.
Robert Bosch GmbH eliminated that need in 1967 when it introduced what would become the first successful mass-produced electronic fuel injection system for gasoline engines. It first appeared on the 1967 Volkswagen 1600.
The technology replaces mechanical fuel injection systems. Mechanical systems pumped a steady stream of gasoline into the engine, which mixed with the air and fired the spark plugs. These systems wasted fuel and energy.
Bosch's first electronic fuel injection system, called Jetronic, was based in part on technology developed by Bendix Corp. It measured airflow and air temperature and adjusted the amount of fuel delivered. Denser air required more fuel.
So the newer system enabled the engine to develop more power, improve fuel economy and produce lower emissions.
Jetronic gained a reputation for bulletproof reliability. By the mid-1980s, virtually every European carmaker had Bosch's electronic fuel injection system or its parts in nearly all their vehicles.
Most domestic and Asian manufacturers licensed Bosch's technology and produced their own components.