BOXBERG, Germany – About 50 hybrid models will be on sale globally by 2010 and supplier Robert Bosch wants its technology in at least 10 of them, said Bernd Bohr, head of the company’s automotive operations.
Bosch was not involved in the first production of hybrid models because its major customers did not believe that the technology would be cost-effective, said Manfred Walter, head of the competence center for hybrid systems that Bosch created last year.
But those feelings are changing.
“We will be making some major announcements in the near future when the customer is ready to go public,” Walter said.
Bosch expects the market share of hybrids to grow to 1 percent of global vehicle sales by 2010, possibly rising to 5 percent by 2025.
Worldwide sales of cars and light commercial vehicles will reach 67.8 million by 2010, predicts consultancy CSM Worldwide. This would mean hybrid sales of almost 700,000 units then. Few forecasters are prepared to predict global sales for 2025.
Bosch expects the North American market to show the most dynamic hybrid growth.
The US “is very emotionally inclined toward hybrid vehicles” said Walter, with hybrid SUVs already having a proven appeal and attracting the greatest interest from automakers.
“There and in Asia, the dominating category will be the strong hybrid with a smaller share for mild hybrids,” Walter said.
Strong hybrids, also called full hybrids, have electric motors that do all the work at low speeds and provide a boost for gasoline engines under acceleration. In mild hybrids electric motors are not used as the sole power source. The electric motors mainly send power to the wheels to take some load off the gasoline engines.
Bosch sees the real benefits of hybrids in stop-and-go traffic. In Europe, it foresees an equal share of sales being won by mild hybrids and full hybrids.
The first vehicle with Bosch’s stop-start system is due to go into production next year.
Bosch has 100 employees in its hybrid center and another hundred working on hybrids in other departments.
– Tony Lewin contributed