Split Axle Technology by Bosch for Peugeot 3008 Hybrid (Image Source: Bosch)

Bosch touts functional excellence at the Power of Innovation media event

At the Power of Innovation media event, Bosch, whose name is ubiquitous within the auto industry supplier base, showed the media its technical advancement that will help automakers in their quest to reach the latest proposed federal CAFE mandate of 54.5 MPG by 2025.
Advertisement


It’s never been easy for suppliers to please every whim and need of the automotive OEMs, but Bosch sure has made great impressions. It was best defined by Peter Marks, the outgoing Chairman, President and CEO of Robert Bosch, LLC, when he noted in his address before a media crowd at its Plymouth, Michigan facility with the key words, “functional excellence.”

Marks especially noted that the MPG and air quality standards that are coming in 2016 and 2025 cannot be met in a vacuum or by a single company; that it is a difficult but industry-wide collaboration. Furthermore, Marks told the media crowd that success will require a “proper mix of technologies;” and that the power of innovation equals a combination of “knowing how, and thinking beyond”

The room for The Power of Innovation media event was well laid out with plenty of microphones before each pair of media personnel, which was represented by the usual, Automotive News, Auto Scene, and of course, Torque News among others, including Government Technology, Chad Vander Veen.

Each Bosch presentation was succinct, factual and well presented by each of the chosen experts from Bosch. Frankly, it was one of the better corporate presentations that this reporter had attended lately. At least I didn’t have to read through calculus formulas like I did at the DEER conference.

One area stood out, though: Bosch, as an automotive supplier, may improve the quality and efficiency of many automotive products, but it does not control the agenda of which engine the industry will choose for its propulsion. All it can do is present its case for its level of efficiency of each tech component, and the OEM has to decide on the choice of propulsion.

That places Bosch in a tough position to make absolute claims of achieving 54.5 MPG on its own, because all of the so-called “clean technologies” that it mentioned were not new by any stretch. Furthermore, Bosch already noted that success required industry collaboration. Regarding the technologies mentioned, note the following:
- gasoline direct injection;
- clean diesels,
- turbos,
- hybrid propulsions,
- stop-start systems,
- electric power steering,
- high-efficiency alternators;
- battery technology.

Also note that the vast majority of these technologies already exist in various autos today.

Of course, as a German and European company at heart, it’s easy to notice that Bosch has a great lean toward clean diesels as the answer to MPG and clean air. Nonetheless, the company noted its work on other compression ignition engine technologies like HCCI, which runs on gasoline.

I mused a bit that a company that literally invented the magneto had nothing to really say about laser ignition, except when I asked the question for comment.

The company also noted, presentation after presentation, that there were gains in each technology segment; a few percentage points here, a little there, etc. And that is precisely what led me to ask some serious questions during Q&A.

Q & A Segment

I first asked about how Bosch viewed all its technology pieces in helping the industry achieve 54.5 MPG by 2025. Fact is, not every component runs at the same time; one is on one vehicle, while its alternate technology is on another. So, the question was, how can we determine how much the collective technologies equate to the efficiency gains toward 54.5 MPG? Do they contribute 25%, 50%, 75% towards the goal? There was no clear answer.

The reason I asked the question was simple: The IC engine itself is merely 30% efficient. So, these small incremental gains may add up, but certainly not enough to raise the IC engine to 50% efficiency or better, unless I missed a slide.

Mr. Marks along with a few other Bosch engineers noted terms like driving cycles; and that technologies will be geared toward the cycle the vehicle is functioning in; and that related well to their Project ACCESS and other programs like the Peugeot 3008 Hybrid that segregates the electrical drive from the diesel drive. In this case (see image), it’s an axle-split hybrid architecture. The electrical drives the rear wheels, while the clean diesel drives the front. In this respect, this particular Bosch example was the clearest.

While it is true that trying to meet all the driving modes with a single technology is next to impossible and often involves serious compromises, which is what we have had these many years, focusing on solutions for each driving cycle is crucial. Understand, though, that splitting an axle drive but not an IC engine is a choice, not a limitation.

That right there forced me to ask the bigger question, the one that I ask all OEMs and suppliers: What is their opinion of what I view as the next evolutionary step of the IC engine, like the split-cycle engine designs of Scuderi and Tour? In this technology, the cold intake-compression are segregated or split from the hot power-exhaust cycles for maximum thermodynamic efficiencies.

Yet, like most other answers that I often receive at tech events, few at Bosch even recognized this new technology was viable; insinuating that diesels and HCCI will likely get us to the 54.5 MPG minimum mandate.

Problem with that answer is this: those technologies, at least clean diesels, are available now. Yet we are nowhere near 54.5 MPG on a single vehicle let alone as a corporate average.

So, my take on the split-cycle engine technology question was that nobody at Bosch really knew, as there seemed to be an eerie silence in the room. Frankly, I didn’t ask the question to embarrass Bosch or me, as I fully expected a technical answer. After all, this is a highly intelligent organization. If they did not know, I was OK with that if they would simply say so.

There was then a reiteration about multi-mode cycles, which I assumed meant an engine has an idle mode, a city driving mode and a highway mode, followed by coasting modes. Frankly that answer helped me undersatnd their position a whole lot more. Truth is, these technologies are not new but have great potential for gains in efficiency; and Bosch is up for the game.

So, that tells me once again the industry as a whole is still not thinking seriously about the very basic issues of engine thermodynamics of which splitting the cycles of the IC engine and its modes, which has the potential to yield far greater efficiencies. Good news is, the gains made by Bosch technologies thus far would still be used even with split-engine tech, except contributing on an engine base from a higher starting level of efficiency.

From the answer which I received, though, I got the impression that Bosch chooses instead to concentrate on various driving modes of a 30% efficient IC engine. For the record, this was similar to the answer I received by Lotus Engineering just last week. I resolved to wait until the next SAE World Congress before I ask that question again.

After many shows and events, I have concluded that each of these technical dog and pony shows seem geared toward answering their own unique questions, not advanced technology questions by an informed media that might have worked in the industry or that has the proclivity toward a bit of research.

Lest anyone think of this as a giant negative, my respect for Bosch stands undiminished, as anyone can see how much they contribute to each of the automotive technologies; and that OEMs count heavily on their expertise. The propulsion selection of which I mentioned lays primarily at the feet of the OEMs like GM, Ford, Toyota, etc.

Advanced Technologies

The advance look at the Bosch navigation, though, was thoroughly impressive with the heads-up driver assistance which showed on the windshield as arrows on the road instead of having to take your eyes off the road to view a graphic on a screen. That was by far better and safer than any navigation technology out there that I had witnessed. I am requesting a graphic or video of that to share.

Sum of the Parts

Whatever propulsion is chosen by an OEM, though, Bosch has multiple offerings in its product stable to maximize efficiency. For example, consider all the small electric motors inside a modern vehicle. Did you know on average there are 35 electric motors per vehicle?

Now, think if every one of those motors had an improvement in efficiency. Then you understand how each component contributes to the whole; which backs up what has been learned at other tech shows like, SAE World Congress, the DEER Conference, The MBS 2011, The Battery Show, the Engine Expo, and The Business of Plugging In show by CAR to name a few.

Bottom lines

The public is more acceptable of clean diesel than ever in U.S. history. So, according to Bosch expect more diesels and HCCI in your future. But one thing is also certain according to Bosch, electrification will contribute to the 2025 mandate of 54.5 MPG, but note the word - contribute. The IC engine is not going away, at least not yet.

The best words I heard all evening, though, were the rejection of government subsidies even for diesels which Bosch heavily believes in. In that respect, I almost clapped. Bosch believes in the free market; and their growth and contributions over the past 125 years as a privately-held trust is a testament to their philosophy and abilities.

-----------------------
About the Reporter: After 39 years in the auto industry as a design engineer, Frank Sherosky now trades stocks, futures and writes articles, books and ebooks like, "Perfecting Corporate Character," "Awaken Your Speculator Mind", and "Millennial World Order" via authorfrank.com. He may be contacted here by email: [email protected] and followed in Twitter under @Authorfranks

________________________________________________
Additional Reading:
Bosch to host Power of Innovation media event today
Lotus Engineering cues media on future of automobiles with Technical Press Workshop
Lotus Engineering wows Battery Show 2011 with synthetic-sound technology
ALTe shows extended-range electric Ford F-150 conversion at The Battery Show 2011
Controlled Power Technologies reveals modular hybridization solutions at Engine Expo 2011
The Business of Plugging In 2011: Media drives EVs at Ride and Drive
Tech synergies permeating IC engine development per 2011 DEER Conference
Navistar reports Super Truck accomplishments at 2011 DEER Conference
Evening 10/03 Update: 2011 DEER Conference at Detroit
Tour Split-Cycle Engine technology display
Altair unveils world's first hydraulic-hybrid transit bus
Scuderi Split-Cycle Engine achieves 65 MPG under simulation study
Achates Power addresses commercial truck mileage and emission standards
Raytheon: Cyclone Power's combustion engine game changer


Sign-up to our email newsletter for daily perspectives on car design, trends, events and news, not found elsewhere.

Comments

Great article. I am perplexed by Bosch's seeming ignorance of the Scuderi Engine, especially since they announced a strategic partnership in February 2008! If you go to the Scuderi site and search "Bosch," there are all sorts of releases about their great partnership. I think this whole Scuderi experiment may be falling apart. They have made repeated claims that they will ipo over the years and nothing ever happens. Torque News may need to soon turn your attention away from pushing the tech to wondering why no one is jumping on.
I am not at all of the opinion that this technoloy is not viable and indeed revolutionary. It seems to be a matter of lack of proper dissemination of information that keeps the general automotive-types informed and educated. It has been my experience that most will not take the time to learn about it (with so many options being put out there - viable or not) and it would be extremely beneficial to have information put out at levels that is simple to read, understand and remember! Knowledgeable Marketing has made a world of difference for many ideas and businesses. Truth and facts can sell a product - but one must be knowledgeable about what they are marketing!
So what will it take for you to see that you may be involved in a scam? Lets see...repeated claims of incredible results with a virtual gag order on SWRI, multiple pushbacks on their IPO timeline, rumor after rumor of big meetings with oem's that go nowhere, and now a claim of ignorance by a company which Scuderi claims to be strategically partnered with? I think the real story here isn't the technology, but the people behind it. 80 Million Dollars is a lot of dough. Where's the new prototype...you know...the one in a real car producing real data...not a vidoe game.
To believe I am involved in a scam - I would have to be in one first. I have seen the skepticism and distrust by those who chose not to invest since 2004 when I became an investor. I have gotten to know the Scuderi clan and asked tons of questions and felt impatient myself at times. Since I am not getting any younger - at this juncture I am probably more anxious for positive return than ever. But at no time has there been any indication or hints of a scam - and the integrity of the president as well as the staff is beyond reproach from anything I have seen or experienced. I have witnessed situations that could have benefitted them heartily but they advised potential investors that if they would "lose sleep" over this investment (risk), they should wait until it goes public. They have always advised that this has risk until the point we know the engine works. There are big and reputable businesses involved in the development of this evolutionary technology and they have worked hard as a team to weather different technological hurdles and storms. The significance of this invention cannot be overstated - and it is the first big reason I wanted to become involved. Carmello had a dream and he handed over to his devoted family the beginnings of what it would take to make that dream happen. He cared about the people and the earth - money was not his main goal! If you do not know the history and have not been intimate with the process at any level - and all you care about is money - then I understand your frustration. But this is a real and viable technology - the people are real and caring - and this technology will benefit way beyond the investment aspect. A little more patience and finding a hobby to occupy your mind 'til this reveals its rewards ... not too long from now .... and you can enjoy life NOW as well as once this incredible invention first is purring in a car or a generator (or both). I will share with you my thinking - I invested based on the following thinking: This is a win/win technology for everyone and mother earth- #1 importance. And.... If I don't invest and it is successful, I will feel a whole lot worse than if I do invest and it doesn't overcome the hurdles ! Have faith and be a little more patient. Enjoy every day you are on the right side of the grass and enjoy the potential, the hope and soon the success of a winning technology! Respectfully, Linda
Linda, No one knows they're in a scam till it is too late. Also, your engine has done nothing for your dear earth but allow a few people to travel all over it in smog producing aircraft. Simulations don't, and never will save the earth. Try to post a question on their website at the air hybrid blog and see if they post it. Call SWRI and see what they tell you, and most of all go through the archives of the Scud site. It's filled with illusory claims and misleadings. I am not an investor and never will be. But I have friends that have fallen into this trap and all of them are starting to see the writing on the wall. This is going nowhere.
Frank, Can you please do an indepth report on Scuderi...where it's at, where it's going, etc. Very little information is coming out of the company. They were clear. Signing by July 2011 with an IPO by now. We need some good investigative reporting, not cheerleading.