PARIS, Jan 11 — According to technology supplier Bosch, there is no debate about whether or not the electric car is the future of individual mobility; the only question left unanswered is when that future will arrive. Therefore at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) it is showcasing an off-the-shelf system that any manufacturer could use as a way of building an affordable electric car.
“It’s just amazing to walk around the 2017 NAIAS and see how far the electric vehicle has come,” said Rich Kohler, director of marketing, Gasoline systems, Robert Bosch LLC. “The electric car is similar to where the smartphone was 10 years ago. Today smartphones are just a part of our lives. And that’s exactly where the electric vehicle is headed.”
It’s a fitting analogy. The iPhone — the blueprint for the modern smartphone handset — celebrates its 10th birthday this month and the auto industry is in a similar position now, waiting for the combination of battery pack, motor and charging time that will move the electric car beyond early adopters. Because consumers are waiting.
Bosch research into the topic shows that 62 per cent of US consumers believe they’ll own at least one fully electric car within the next decade.
“Whether those numbers are realistic or not, it’s clear the consumer is very interested in electrified vehicles,” said Kohler. “They could purchase them in large numbers if the industry continues to advance in the key areas of lowering cost, increasing range and quick recharge times.
So the company has come to Detroit with a new electric axle drive system, the eAxle, which integrates a host of components that until now needed to be sourced and purchased separately by a company wanting to build a car with electric drive.
It’s not only 5-10 per cent cheaper than buying individual components, the system is scalable (i.e., can be used on bigger vehicles) and can extend driving range between charges by as much as 25% during the winter while offering climate control without completely draining power reserves in the summer.
“[It makes] electrification accessible to the masses so OEMs can deliver on the promise of this technology to mainstream consumers,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Robert Bosch LLC.
Indeed the new system could be the breakthrough low volume car makers need to move into the market, but as quickly as advances are coming in terms of range or charging times, what people expect from a plug-in car is also in a constant state of flux.
“We continue to push the technology to meet consumers’ needs. And while the technology is rapidly evolving, so are the perceptions of consumers,” said Kohler. — AFP-Relaxnews