Vice president of electrification, Robert Bosch North America
Big break: Being project leader of the team that designed Bosch’s first hybrid drive — an e-motor and clutch — which debuted in 2010
As Robert Bosch spends billions of dollars designing electric vehicle components, Erich Banhegyi has emerged as the German supplier’s go-to technical expert.
As vice president of electrification for the company’s North American business unit, the engineer oversees development of EV motors, converters, inverters, e-axles and chargers.
Over the past decade, Bosch has spent roughly $6 billion to develop technology for EVs and hybrids.
This year, Bosch will invest $420 million in its North American automotive business to gear up for electrification. In the region, Bosch’s EV unit is expected to generate sales of $1 billion in the near future.
Banhegyi, who oversees a staff of more than 70 employees, is expanding his team to meet that goal.
“Every year from 2021 through 2025, we are launching products,” Banhegyi said. “We are building up, and there are many, many people involved.”
Banhegyi joined Bosch in 2006 after earning a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Stuttgart. He started out designing mechanical components for Bosch’s e-motor and later was promoted to lead the technical team.
Bosch’s first hybrid motor debuted in 2010 in the Volkswagen Touareg and subsequently powered the Porsche Cayenne and Panamera.
“Looking back, it was a huge opportunity,” Banhegyi said. “I had been in the profession for just a few years, so it was a big deal.”
Banhegyi’s next big break came in 2012, when he joined Bosch’s new joint venture with Daimler-Benz to design EV motors. Career-wise, it was a bit of a risk, Banhegyi said.
“It was a completely new company with a lot of new people working together,” he explained. “We built up the team from scratch.”
A year into the project, Banhegyi was put in charge of design and engineering, and he built his team up from 20 to 70 staffers. The venture subsequently developed and produced e-motors for Mercedes’ plug-in hybrids introduced over the last six years or so.
In 2019, Banhegyi moved to the Detroit area to oversee Bosch’s North American electrification program. In addition to its primary focus on full EVs, Banhegyi’s team is developing components for hybrids and 48-volt batteries for gasoline-powered vehicles.
Given his expertise, one might expect Banhegyi to bolt for a job offer from one of Bosch’s customers. But he’s happy where he is.
“At Bosch we have so many opportunities,” he said, “and that’s why I never thought of leaving.”
— David Sedgwick