Bosch, the world’s largest automotive supplier, has decided to take a bold, and arguably dumb, stance against electric cars based on new comments from its chairman.
Bosch and Electric Cars
Some people often forget that the transition to electric vehicles not only disrupts automakers but also the entire automotive supply chain.
Over the years, many automakers have focused on engines, body, and assembly, while relying heavily on suppliers for most components inside their vehicles.
It created some giant automotive suppliers like Bosch.
The company previously looked to take part in the transition to electric vehicles by getting involved in one of the most important components, if not the most important: battery cells.
In 2017, Bosch bought the solid-state battery start-up Seeo Inc. and has been sparsely revealing details about its plan to bring new battery technologies to market by 2020 with a 50 kWh battery pack weighing only 190 kg, but it never committed resources to start producing cells.
Later that year, the company confirmed that it was considering a €20 billion investment to create 200 GWh of battery cell production capacity by 2030. The move would have brought them to the same level or even higher than battery manufacturers like Panasonic, LG Chem, Samsung SDI, and CATL.
However, Bosch announced in 2018 that it will not go through with the plan, and instead, it even completely divested from its battery cell production assets.
The company said that it thought the investment was “too risky” and noted that they are still investing in their expertise in electric drivetrain.
Bosch is known in the EV community for its electric motors, especially for e-bikes.
Now Bosch goes anti-EVs?
Bosch supervisory board chairman Franz Fehrenbach commented on the current trend of governments putting deadlines on banning the sale of new vehicles equipped with internal combustion engines.
Fehrenbach encouraged the auto industry to fight the transition and repeated some misinformation about electric vehicles.
Germany’s T3N reported on new comments (translated from German):
“Fehrenbach finds clear words in the Stuttgarter Nachrichten on political initiatives towards electromobility. He is certain that there will be “double standards to the disadvantage of the internal combustion engine – and to the detriment of the climate” Fehrenbach literally: “On the other hand, German industry should really take a stand against it.” Everyone knows that even electric cars in the German and European electricity mix – contrary to what is often claimed – are not climate-neutral. The vehicles would be treated as zero CO2 vehicles because the generation of the charging current would be hidden. In addition, the manufacture of the batteries consumes a lot of electricity. In Asia, a very high proportion of this is still generated with coal-fired power plants. Fehrenbach thinks that these emissions are missing from the information on Co2 consumption.”
The chairman also stated that electric vehicles have an infrastructure problem with a need for 1 million more charging stations in Germany.
Electrek’s Take: Change or be left behind
The comments are basically mimicking comments made by Toyota’s CEO just last month.
They are both repeating the same misinformation that battery-electric vehicles are more polluting than gasoline-powered vehicles due to electricity being mainly produced by gas and coal in some places — something that has been proven false by several studies.
Not only is it already not accurate in most places, but it’s also short-sighted to focus on that considering the electric grid is also rapidly getting cleaner as new deployment of renewable energy is becoming significantly cheaper than coal and gas.
As for the infrastructure problem, it’s a laughable comment.
First off, if there’s a problem, then it should be a business opportunity to fix it. Bosch makes charging stations.
They should see this as an opportunity.
But I would also note that EV naysayers often misrepresent the infrastructure issue with EVs.
While I certainly admit that we need more DC fast-charging stations virtually everywhere to support the transition to electric vehicles, we don’t need millions of new charge points.
Naysayers often compare charging stations to gas stations, but most charging is done at home on existing electric infrastructure.
We mainly need charging stations to enable long-distance driving and support EV owners in cities who have to park on the street.
It is certainly a smaller infrastructure issue than hydrogen fuel cell, which Bosch is onboard with. Isn’t that strange?
They have several hydrogen fuel cell initiatives, and they have partnered with Nikola Motors, one of the shadiest companies ever, to help them produce hydrogen trucks.
What is up Bosch? Seriously.
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