Alternative drive technologies are becoming increasingly important, even if the internal-combustion engine is set to dominate the automotive market for the next 20 years.

Bosch is developing power electronics, electric drives, and – in its SB LiMotive joint venture – lithium-ion batteries for use in the automobile. Different versions of these systems and components can be fitted to all types of electric drive concepts. These range from hybrid vehicles, plug-in hybrids, electric drives combined with a range extender, and purely electric drives, to the fuel cell as an energy converter.

For recovering the energy expended during braking, Bosch is developing a new ESP® system that electronically coordinates the braking power of electric motor and friction brakes. In addition, alternative drive technologies call for electric and highly efficient auxiliary systems, such as the electric support of power steering which Bosch already offers through its joint venture ZF Lenksysteme GmbH.

The first series-produced vehicles with Bosch hybrid technology, the Porsche Cayenne and the VW Touareg, are set to roll off the line starting this year.

Bosch has also signed an agreement with PSA Peugeot Citroën to create a strategic partnership for diesel hybrid vehicles. Apart from drive electronics, Bosch will also develop and deliver the electric motors for the electric final drive at the rear axle of these four-wheel drive vehicles.

SB LiMotive plans to start large-scale series production of battery cells for hybrid vehicles in 2011, and for electric vehicles in 2012. BMW will be the first SB LiMotive customer for lithium-ion batteries. The German automaker will install the batteries in electric cars that are currently being developed as part of its “Megacity Vehicle” project.