Interview: Jan Oliver Rohrl
Bosch are set to introduce a portfolio of electromobility solutions for the global market. We had a chance to speak to Jan Oliver Röhrl, Chief Technical Officer–Mobility Solutions and Powertrain, at Bosch. Here’s what the future of electrification looks l
Talking about Bosch’s future plans on electromobility solutions
Bike India (BI): You mentioned that Bosch have the integrated axle with a motor unit that integrates the motor, transmission, clutch, and the control unit in the packaging. How close is this to series production? Do you have any mainstream manufacturers who are ready to pick it up and put it into their two-wheelers? Jan Oliver Röhrl (JOR): We are bringing this into production very soon. The beauty of that development is that it is scalable, ranging from 0.25 kW to 20 kW [0.34 PS to 27.2 PS]. If you go to the IAA [Frankfurt Motor Show], you will see that. BI: When you say 0.25 kW to 20 kW, is that specific to the Indian two-wheeler segment?
JOR: For the two-wheeler, you would also have to look at a completely different voltage system. It would have to be a 48-volt system, where we also have a full-fledged solution available from the powertrain to the battery, drive-unit, and the HMI [Human Machine Interface]. It’s all one system that we are capable of supplying. BI: When it comes to battery technology, it was mentioned that we are still some time away from solid-state batteries. So far as lithium-ion batteries are concerned, do you have some sort of flexible solution that can be altered to fit a certain two-wheeler, say, a scooter or a bike?
JOR: Bosch is not in cell production. We are buying cells. We are very capable in providing solutions for markets that are in, if you will, the low-end of mobility. We are the biggest supplier for e-mobility for push-pedals. Here, also, we have experience with battery technology because we are supplying such things.
BI: Thus far in India, there have been two sides: the conventionally-powered motorcycles and scooters from mainstream manufacturers and the electric scooter and bike manufacturers, usually sourcing Chinese components. Do you see the mainstream manufacturers adopting something like that anytime soon? Do you have a product offering that they would be interested in? Have you been approached by a mainstream manufacturer — say Bajaj or Mahindra — that actually seem interested in adding an electric line of bikes alongside their combustion line?
JOR: We would not close the door to any company. So, whether it’s a start-up or a wellknown brand in the market, or a fleet-owner, we would explore jointly what are the requirements from their side, what are our existing solutions from our portfolio, and our competence in providing a systems solution that would be the best fit for them. So we would not exclude anything here.
BI: At the moment, are there any OEM contracts that are close to making something big out of this?
JOR: I mentioned at the press conference that there might be some announcement in the time to come, but not today. BI: I was hoping to get some clarity on the OEM aspect. Since you have a ready motorunit that’s just waiting to find a chassis that’s
there, it would be easier for someone to adopt that rather than develop their own line. Is the awareness there? That’s the question. Do they know that such a product exists and that they can have it?
JOR: Absolutely! We are having discussions with our customers, also on the eAxle [for cars]. It’s a thought process. You can have individual components and combine them. You can have a starter-motor-generator. You can have an integrated motor-generator. You can combine a battery of X size. You can still use lead-acid batteries. The electrified threewheeler market in India in some cities is still using lead-acid batteries. Or, you can go to lithium-ion batteries and then think about what is the best system solution for that type of vehicle. There, the eAxle definitely also plays a role. BI: Coming to your bike-sharing model, COUP. Do you have a business model for India, or are you looking at partners to implement something like that here?
Is it something feasible that you see happening soon?
JOR: Let me say it’s something where we explore. Meanwhile, this model is suitable also for cities outside Berlin, in Europe. So why not bring such a thing over to Asia, and why not India? India is a market with strong organisation, so there could high acceptance of shared mobility where such a model could work.