Jan-oliver Röhrl

In con­ver­sa­tion with Jan-Oliver Röhrl, Chief Tech­ni­cal Of­fi­cer and Di­rec­tor, Bosch Lim­ited

Car India - - CONTENTS -

The CTO and Di­rec­tor of Bosch sheds light on emis­sion-free driv­ing

CarIndia(CI): How does Bosch en­vi­sion the fu­ture of au­to­mo­biles? Jan-Oliver Röhrl (J-OR): The fu­ture, ac­cord­ing to us, should be emis­sion-free, ac­ci­dent-free and stress­free driv­ing, and ev­ery­thing is cater­ing to this vi­sion: con­nected, au­to­mated, shared and elec­tri­fied driv­ing. We con­sider it as a seam­less, multi-model trans­port that in the fu­ture an in­di­vid­ual will be us­ing be­yond his/her per­sonal ve­hi­cle.

So, fu­ture pow­er­trains will not be only gaso­line or only diesel, ICE (in­ter­nal com­bus­tion en­gine) or hy­brid or elec­tric, but as di­ver­si­fied as In­dia is. We will see in In­dia cars be­ing op­er­ated man­u­ally but there will be small sys­tems in­te­grated into the ve­hi­cle that will as­sist the driver in case of emer­gency sit­u­a­tions, such as the Bosch eCall sys­tem. This is an ex­am­ple of con­nected driv­ing in terms of safety. Other tech­nolo­gies such as the ABS, which is kick­ing in due to the new leg­is­la­tion in In­dia, and in the fu­ture will be re­placed by ESP which is the ac­tive ver­sion of it. This is not just for brake as­sist but also for adap­tive brak­ing, com­bined with elec­tric steer­ing.

The core pur­pose of the car is to go from point A to B. For its pow­er­train you have the same di­ver­si­fied land­scape, with ICE be­ing the most dom­i­nant in In­dia now and in the fu­ture. There will be growth in the use of al­ter­na­tive fuel and pow­er­train, but the ground re­al­ity is that OEMs will have to gear up for BS-VI which will be a huge step for­ward for the air qual­ity. Bosch will be one of the prime cater­ers of emis­sion-free driv­ing.

(CI): Tell us about the Bosch-pow­ered elec­tric car that’s on dis­play. (J-OR): This is a demo car which has been en­gi­neered by the re­cently founded Bosch Ag­ile Project House. I’m re­ally proud of the team which did it in a very short time, con­vert­ing an ICE en­gine car into a fully elec­tri­fied one. The beauty of this is that In­dia has an ad­van­tage over the rest of the world that it can take com­po­nents that have been proven else­where in the world. Yes, we need to val­i­date that for the In­dian mar­ket but still it re­mains a stan­dard com­po­nent for a par­tic­u­lar car. On the one hand, there is no great in­no­va­tion for a prod­uct, but the im­por­tant thing is to show that it is pos­si­ble in a very short pe­riod of time. This is an “ag­ile” ap­proach which also shows that Bosch is able to sup­port the In­dian mar­ket to go elec­tri­fied.

So, this car is the gen­er­a­tion one which we call the elec­tri­fied pow­er­train which gets SMG [Starter Mo­tor Gen­er­a­tor], and the di­rect-cur­rent (DC/DC) con­verter is al­ready in, has an on­board charger and fea­tures a li-ion bat­tery.

(CI): Are lithium-ion bat­ter­ies the fu­ture or are bet­ter tech­nolo­gies in the off­ing? (J-OR): That is a good ques­tion... one to which

ev­ery­one is seek­ing an an­swer. At the mo­ment Li-ion bat­tery is the tech­no­log­i­cal stan­dard. There are a few ques­tions we have to ask here: have we reached the bot­tom of the tech­nol­ogy? Maybe not yet. On the tech­no­log­i­cal side (for the Li-ion bat­tery), will the steps be huge? No. We will see huge im­prove­ment with re­gard to en­ergy den­sity, range, and cost. But that doesn’t re­solve the is­sue of raw ma­te­rial be­cause it re­mains the same. And you can’t ig­nore chem­istry or physics. You can’t cheat the chem­i­cal di­a­gram and the el­e­ments it con­sists of.

(CI): Level-four au­ton­o­mous seems still far away for In­dia. What do you think will fil­ter down to In­dian cars of the near fu­ture? (J-OR): Keep­ing in mind the cur­rent in­fra­struc­ture, lane dis­ci­pline and traf­fic of In­dia, I would keep the level-four au­ton­o­mous car aside for now. Fu­ture in­te­gra­tion of ac­tive safety, like ESP or EPS, com­bined with sen­sors with park­ing as­sist or semi-au­to­mated park­ing, emer­gency brake as­sis­tance, or even ve­hi­cle de­tect­ing cam­eras on the sides are things I can en­vi­sion far more. And even for these tech­nolo­gies to come into main­stream cars, there has to be a de­mand from the mar­ket. But with com­bined tech­nolo­gies of radar, cam­eras and even VR, the sys­tem be­comes very ex­pen­sive.

(CI): You know the In­dian car mar­ket so well. What are the tech­nolo­gies in de­mand by the In­dian car com­pa­nies? (J-OR): We are get­ting re­quests for shared so­lu­tions from fleet own­ers to help them in fleet man­age­ment so­lu­tions. But the rock-solid, base­line is the de­mand for pow­er­train so­lu­tions. With BS-VI com­ing in now, this has the high­est ground speed. There’s re­quest for new gaso­line and diesel, for two-wheeler, three-wheeler and four-wheeler mod­els.

(CI): If hy­brids are the in­ter­me­di­ate so­lu­tion for low emis­sion, should the gov­ern­ment re­con­sider the tax struc­ture for them? (J-OR): If you ask the same ques­tion to dif­fer­ent peo­ple from the au­to­mo­bile in­dus­try, the unan­i­mous view will be that hy­brids are the right tech­nol­ogy also for In­dia. A sim­i­lar tech­nol­ogy can also be used on twowheel­ers to re­duce fuel con­sump­tion and CO2 emis­sion. Diesel is fac­ing chal­lenge in the In­dian con­text with BS-VI for pas­sen­ger cars you will have to add an af­ter-treat­ment sys­tem which will in­crease the ve­hi­cle cost. Hav­ing said that, diesel still has a fuel ad­van­tage of 10 to 15 per cent min­i­mum. Gaso­line has a chance now to catch up in this fuel deficit by adding a hy­brid so­lu­tion and still be­ing cost-com­pet­i­tive.

(CI): With fu­ture cars com­mu­ni­cat­ing with oc­cu­pants and other cars, is In­dian wire­less net­work ready for the huge surge in data trans­fer? (J-OR): In telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions I be­lieve that In­dia will be­come 5G ready by Oc­to­ber 2018. Also new play­ers are plan­ning to make an en­try. Many In­di­ans are us­ing smart­phones now; not just for Face­book and Snapchat but also as a means of mak­ing pay­ment. So, I as­sume this will not be a ma­jor ob­sta­cle for the tech­nol­ogy to break through.

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