Vehicle supplier Bosch has announced a push into parking, charging and maintenance services for electric and autonomous vehicles.
In a release together with its annual operating profit results, the company said it was in talks to expand a research alliance on driverless vehicles and plans to invest €4 billion to develop the technology by 2022.
The company has 4,000 engineers working on autonomous vehicles and has partnered with Daimler to develop a range of self-driving cars.
‘Driverless driving will be a game changer for individual mobility. It will open the door to disruptive business models such as robotaxis and shuttle-based mobility,’ CEO Volkmar Denner said. Due to automation’s technical complexity, Denner views it as a future focal point of investment: ‘In the period up to 2022 alone, we expect our upfront investments to total €4 billion.’
Bosch believes the market potential of automated driving is huge, with automated-driving hardware and software to be worth some $60 billion (€52.6 billion), citing Roland Berger. The Bosch ecosystem for mobility services already combines solutions and services for reservations, payment, parking, recharging, administration, maintenance, and infotainment.
In 2018, Bosch acquired 30 electromobility projects worth several billion euros. By 2025, the company aims to increase its sales in this area tenfold, to a total of €5 billion. ‘We aim to lead the mass market for electromobility,’ Denner said. ‘In the future, people will say that there’s no electric car on the planet without a bit of Bosch inside.’
The company recently entered into a strategic partnership for automated and electric driving with the Chinese electric car manufacturer NIO. In China, Bosch will also start production in 2019 of the e-axle, an especially compact powertrain solution for electric cars. A newly developed 48-volt battery went into mass production there a few weeks ago. As early as 2030, 20% of new cars worldwide will be partly electrified with 48-volt systems. Moreover, with the complete acquisition of EM-motive GmbH, Bosch is strengthening its position in the electromobility market.
According to preliminary figures, the supplier of technology and services generated sales from operations of €77.9 billion last year. Sales results were hit hard by exchange rate effects to the tune of €2.1 billion. Adjusted for exchange rate effects, revenue rose 4.3%. ‘Despite the economically harsh environment, Bosch performed well in 2018. Sales and results are once again on a record level,’ said Denner. ‘As an innovation leader, we want to shape change in our markets, in both a technological and a business sense. Our strategic focus on connectivity is paying off.’