FRANKFURT -- Robert Bosch GmbH expects hybrid vehicles to make up 4 percent of production in North America and 9 percent in Japan by 2015.
Demand in Europe will be comparatively lower, with mild and full hybrids accounting for just 1 percent of vehicle production, the German supplier forecasts.
Hybrid production levels now stand at less than 1 percent in the United States and about 4 percent in Japan, according to Bosch figures.
Bernd Bohr, Boschs board member who oversees its automotive units, said Europes strong diesel history will make hybrids a tough sell here. Diesel share in Europe now is about 53 percent and rising, Bohr said today at the Frankfurt auto show.
Also, in terms of carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption, diesels are on the same level as gasoline hybrids, he said. This is particularly true under typical European driving conditions, which dont involve as much stop-and-go as in large cities such as Tokyo. Diesel fuel also is much cheaper than gasoline in Europe, where fuels are heavily taxed.
These factors show us that hybrids will probably be better fitted for the time being to large cars, high-end cars, Bohr said.
To meet emerging U.S. and Asian demands, Bosch has dedicated more than 250 engineers to developing hybrids. Bosch is focusing on developing a parallel hybrid, whose modular components can be customized to an automakers requirements.
In a parallel hybrid system, all key components such as the alternator and electric motor are contained in one module. That differs from distributed systems, also known as power split systems, where components stand alone.
The parallel hybrid can be combined with different types of transmissions depending on the target market. Bosch predicts that by 2015, the global market for hybrid drives will be split 50-50 between parallel and distributed systems.
Bosch has a partnership with transmission manufacturer Getrag to develop parallel hybrid systems along with dual clutch transmissions and electric final-drive units.
Bosch says it has its first orders for both gasoline and diesel hybrids but would not name the customers.
Bosch, of Stuttgart, ranks No. 1 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide original-equipment automotive parts sales of $29.69 billion in fiscal 2006.
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