Urbanization in India has spearheaded the nation’s growth and favourably impacted India’s position as a leading global player. However, it also tagged along with a fair share of environmental and economic challenges especially, in the realm of mobility. To create a future favourable mobility ecosystem, the need of the hour is to upgrade the current Internal Combustion Engines (ICE) and use alternative fuels and propulsion options that focus on a CO₂ neutral ecosystem while simultaneously exploring optimization through a connected and digital infrastructure.
Bosch has always been at the forefront of the changing mobility landscape. In 1950, Bosch (then MICO) facilitated the growth of Indian Railways by developing indigenous and high-precision equipment for diesel engines. Today, the Indian Railways is one of the fourth largest railway networks in the world covering an expanse of 69,182 kilometres. As India stands at the brink of another mobility revolution, Bosch is catalyzing that growth with solutions panning macro and micro aspects. The company has a clear vision to build a connected, automated, and electrified mobility landscape through a combination of a leading stance in the mobility sphere and end-to-end engineering technology solutions.
India is the only country to leapfrog from BSIV to BSVI. This, in itself, is a mobility revolution in the making. Strict enforcement of BS-VI, with Real Driving Emissions (RDE) and in-use-compliance, will be a game-changer in terms of emissions.
Bosch is currently evolving from being a leading automotive component manufacturer to a technology enabler, pioneering solutions in the mobility landscape. This shifting gear is clearly exhibited through some of our recent innovations that fuel the vision of an electrified, automated, and connected future.
While devising new mobility solutions for the future, Bosch believes that a congruent co-existence of electrified solutions and traditional ICEs is the way forward. We constantly strive to resolve current mobility issues through innovative solutions for both, ICE and Electric powertrain. For instance, in the race to reduce emission levels, Bosch’s latest diesel technology has proven to drastically reduce nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions below the mandated emission limits. Realization in India is subject to the availability of technology and quality of fuel in the country.
Jan O. Roehrl
Chief Technology Ofﬁcer
Executive Director, Bosch Limited
Electrification: Good for India’s environment, better for India’s economy
Electrification has undoubtedly emerged as the primary choice in order to initiate India’s strong intent to create an emission-free mobility ecosystem. However, the adoption of electrified passenger vehicles may take much longer due to multiple reasons, such as the necessary infrastructure, range uncertainty, etc. The story, however, is different for commercial vehicles, it is anticipated that light commercial vehicles, especially those engaged in logistics, are likely to be early adopters, due to better economic benefits. With a rampant increase in consumer preference for online purchase over brick-and-mortar shopping, coupled with decreasing patience between the click-to-delivery stage, the quantum of vehicles has multiplied manifold.
To electrify the last mile logistics segment, Bosch Limited’s in-house start-up, Project House Electrification, kick-started the CARRY project. The Project House Electrification was set up in 2018 to develop full liner Electrification solutions for the Indian market. A team of over 20+ associates work towards developing the electromobility sector through custom engineering and business solutions that fit the Indian market requirements. Following the “Learn-Pivot-Iterate” ethos, the team works as a start-up in Bosch with a lot of agility. In 2018, the idea for the CARRY project sprouted during a casual conversation between mobility engineers, Hariprasad Gowrisankar and Preetham C R.
Since market research recommended that this segment is more conducive to electromobility, it was the befitting choice for the test project. The cost of last-mile logistics is high and may further rise, as BS-VI norms are likely to increase transportation cost, which is why this segment particularly would benefit from adopting electrification. To test the concept of electromobility in the last mile segment, the team dismantled a diesel-powered vehicle, replaced it with an electric powertrain, and mounted a swappable battery below the load body. Combined with the lack of charging infrastructure, the time-consuming process of recharging a battery prompted the engineers to use swappable batteries that can be exchanged at specified ports. While swappable batteries do put a limitation on the range, it had no impact on our chosen segment.
“During our preliminary research stage, we spoke to more than two hundred vehicle owners and drivers and realized that last-mile vehicles carry somewhere between 0.5-1 tonne of load for deliveries within the city. On any given day, these vehicles don’t operate for more than 80 kms, and one swappable battery easily meets the daily range of motion. After factoring in a variety of such concerns, we assembled and successfully tested the vehicle on Bosch Limited’s Adugodi campus,” said, Hariprasad, Gowrisankar, Electrification Expert, Project House Electrification.
However, one of the major hurdles faced during the completion of this project was the lack of timely possession of essential components. High expectations that are common within a start-up culture to ‘make things happen quickly’ added to the pressure. The challenges led to multiple trials and errors, but the team battled through, keeping in mind that failing was not an option. The team spirit, the willingness to work hard, brainstorming sessions with Bosch’s in-house experts, and contributions from our parent company, Robert Bosch GmbH made the project a success. As an outcome, the project was not just completed on time but also to the highest conceivable standards.
Currently, Bosch Limited is assessing the on-road technical vehicular behaviour and is in talks with logistic companies to pilot the project across top Indian cities. While the environmental benefits of electrification are significant, it also positively impacts workforce productivity. One of the critical findings, during the team’s interviews with last-mile logistics stakeholders, especially the drivers, indicated that the constant shifting of a manual gearbox was a discomforting experience. The modern electrified vehicles make driving convenient, as it does away with the need for a manual gearbox altogether.
With the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME-II) scheme, India aims to boost electric mobility and increase the number of electric vehicles in commercial fleets. According to NITI Aayog & Rocky Mountain Institute’s (RMI) ‘Release Technical Analysis’ of FAME-II Scheme, it is estimated that EVs sold through 2030 could cumulatively save 474 million tonnes of oil equivalent (Mtoe), worth INR 15 lakh crore and generate a net CO₂ savings of 846 million tonnes over their operational lifetime.
Addressing the need for electrification in India, Bosch also offers a range of electromobility solutions to facilitate quicker adoption of an electrified future. Some of the solutions include the eAxle; the modular and scalable electric drive unit, which reduces the time to market; the iBooster and ESP that enables vacuum-free braking, and prevents wheel locking in electric vehicles during emergency braking; the connected Driver Assistance Systems that provides support in critical situations; and various other offerings.
Digitizing the other side of the coin
Better mobility is contingent upon a lot of factors, such as government initiatives, the citizen’s inclination to shed the old for new, and industry leaders consistently reinventing the wheel to meet the needs. With improved infrastructure blurring the lines between intra-and inter-city destinations, personal vehicles become a critical part of people’s lives.
An often-overlooked aspect is vehicle servicing and maintenance. Future India will constantly be on the move, and for automotive leaders to win their trust in a commoditized market, the need of the hour is to go beyond the norm and offer superior customer experiences than just basic servicing. Keeping this in mind, Bosch helped a leading OEM to optimize processes, reduce the time and effort, and minimize documentation, which subsequently led to shorter turnaround time, the omission of errors, and exceptional customer experience at the service centre.
We, at Bosch, believe that each customer’s need is unique and there is no one-size-fits-all approach. So when the client approached us with the problem statement, we spent a substantial amount of time understanding their current business processes and aligning it to their future expectations. After careful analysis based on interviews with the stakeholders, we proposed a digital platform that consists of an app-based solution along with a cloud-based web application, which solution that will digitize the business process to benefit the entire OEM workshop ecosystem.
The Connected Workshop project, which was the brainchild of the Automotive Service Solution division of Bosch Limited, developed a digital ecosystem that connects the entire servicing journey, right from customer appointment to the delivery process. There’s seamless data flow through various processes viz., customer appointment, gate pass process, reception, the voice of the customer, repair order creation, technician and bay management, inspection, billing process and customer feedback.
Bosch Limited’s app resulted in an increase in workshop efficiency through elimination of human lag and incorrect processing of information. The platform enhances customer experience by providing necessary touchpoints to access their service history, repair order details, quotation approval, and work status update. The platform is further equipped to process all major digital payments, and it also allows customers to rate the service, which would then be directly sent to the OEM, enabling them to act quickly on customer satisfaction trends.
In line with the Digital India initiative, the solution will help OEMs to get better insights into the region and area-wise working of the service centres as well as offer customers a better experience.
The immediate outcome of workshop digitization was a drastic cut down in time; from twenty-two minutes to ten minutes for vehicle registration along with the benefit of going paperless. During the initial stages, Bosch found out that there were at least eighty-nine duplicate paper entries for any given vehicle, which led to huge quantities of paper being used on an everyday basis and its physical storage management.
From the preparation to the execution stage, the team went through a myriad of challenges. While the department has always been executioners, this was the first project where they also had to delve deeper and do an infrastructure study to give inputs for the same. But that didn’t deter them from taking on the humungous task and assembling in-house intelligence to draft the preliminary blueprint.
Another setback that marred the journey was linking the retro DMS system to the digital solution. It took the team multiple attempts and shared knowledge sessions within the Bosch ecosystem to deal with this mountain of a problem. Bosch also went above and beyond by providing technical services and support to handhold the client by training their existing staff. This along with a quick response time to challenges and the fact that the team worked tirelessly to ensure that the app was at its best version, made the project a success and was appreciated by the biggies at the client-side.
Through this engagement, Bosch once again proved to be the one-stop solution provider for OEMs throughout the process, starting with analyzing the problem statement to realizing the solution. Our unique positioning was combining our technology and workshop ecosystem expertise and backing them by offering the necessary service support for a pan-India rollout, which included online/classroom training, Hotline tech support, application support etc.
The solution was very well received and highly appreciated by the OEM, and they are further exploring the possibility of rolling it to regions outside of India. Bosch’ global presence will be an added advantage for the realization of the OEMs global strategy for their Digital Workshop ecosystem.
Seamlessly connecting India’s third living space
Connectivity has become the fourth pillar of our existence, as the average Indian juggles between at least three devices at any given point of time. As per a CISCO report, by 2022, the Indian internet network will carry 1 million gigabytes of data per day, a 490% increase since 2017.
The importance of staying connected cannot be sidelined, especially when India is vying to be home to multiple Smart Cities. And this need for connectivity stands true from the mobility lens as well. With a good amount of time spent in vehicles on an everyday basis, cars are fast becoming the third living space in India. Constant connectivity ensures smooth working on the go as well as boosts security and safety.
End of 2014, Bosch was awarded the global Renault Nissan Alliance Project to develop an infotainment system, which was realized with the Generation 3 platform for the global markets. Nissan Kicks has an Indian variant of the Infotainment System as per the Indian market requirements.
The product has an eight-inch Touchscreen with Speed Sensing Auto Volume Control. With Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for smartphone connectivity, it’s packed with the following salient features: Tuner AM/FM; BT/CD/USB/Aux; and Park Assist with Around View Monitor.
The customization was two-pronged; first, since the device is voice controlled, we had to incorporate the Indian accent to ensure a lack of delay in processing commands and better driver assistance. The second requirement is a testament to Bosch’s intent to drill down to the details. The global infotainment platform has orange illumination that aligns with the in-car ambiance of foreign vehicles, but since Indian cars have a white interior, the infotainment system too had to integrate the same lighting mood.
However, our biggest challenge was sourcing white LED lights, which aren’t just unavailable in the Indian market but were also impossible to find at our supply partners overseas. To address this challenge, Bosch’s multi-country team, from Germany, Malaysia, Vietnam, and India, brainstormed and smartly used a white dial covering for the various button outlets on the system and achieved a 99% white light effect.
Such upgrades highlight that every aspect must be kept in mind to ensure a future of safer and connected mobility. With the success of this project, the Bosch team proves that we consider every little aspect that can make that a reality.
India isn’t agnostic to the growing global two-wheeler demand, as is evident from the speculated two-wheeler industry growth of 8-10% in FY19. Whether it’s the cost-effectiveness or the convenience, two-wheelers have become a popular choice across different strata of society.
Bosch has always been a chief contributor to the two-wheeler industry, notably supporting leading OEMs through a combination of domain expertise and systems competence. Our dedication towards creating a reliable and safer two-wheeler segment shows through the two-pronged approach that the team follows across geographies. The first is by constantly innovating to provide products and solutions that catalyze our vision of an accident-free, stress-free and nearly emission-free mobility, and the second is by conducting research and probing into the pressing safety concerns and its viable causes.
Two of Bosch’s latest inventions – the Engine Management System (EMS) and the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) – significantly help to achieve that vision. While the EMS promotes lower emission levels, ABS contributes towards better rider safety.
Bosch’s complete range of EMS technology makes two wheelers compatible with BS-VI norms and achieve lower emission levels by combining multiple solutions, such as components for fuel injection and supply, air management, ignition and exhaust-gas treatment as well as engine control units to deliver an enhanced performance and considerably reduce CO₂ emission. Additionally, the Lambda sensor, designed especially for two wheelers, optimize the air to fuel ratio by measuring the oxygen content in the exhaust gas.
While the EMS solution makes significant inroads into the macro concern of environmental pollution, we also believe in creating solutions that impact the life of individuals, especially by addressing one of the most critical concerns, that of safety. The Ministry of Road Transport, India, highlighted that of the 1,50,000 road fatalities in India, more than 50,000 involved two wheelers. Our accident research team studied the patterns of these accidents and discovered that 30% of two wheeler- related road accidents were due to wheels locking up during braking. To counter that, Bosch Chassis Systems India Private Limited developed the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), which promotes better tractive control by preventing locking up of wheels in situations where the rider has to brake suddenly. The ABS fitment allows better man-machine control and makes riding along accident-prone areas, such as highways and rough pathways increasingly safer, which could subsequently prevent one in every three road accident fatality, with all statutory traffic and safety norms being followed.
To show the efficacy of our two-wheeler-centric solutions, Bosch powered the one of a kind pole to pole journey, the Polar Odyssey. The event saw three riders, one of whom is part of the Bosch Limited, zooming through 15 countries, covering a distance of 50,000 km in 100 days with zero breakdowns on their modified Bajaj Dominar fitted with Bosch’s EMS and ABS solutions. This Arctic-to-Antarctic journey, which entailed traversing a variety of daunting trails under diverse weather conditions, proved that Bosch Limited’s ABS solution makes all types of roads significantly safer. The Spirit of the Ride conference saw great participation from the riders’ community, ranging from industry experts to digital influencers, who attended the event to hear their stories.
Avinash PS, one of the riders and a Bosch engineer commented, “I’ve always appreciated Bosch’s pro-work-life balance culture. The Polar Odyssey ride took that attitude several notches higher by giving me the opportunity to combine work with my passion for a fantastic journey that will be a memory I surely will cherish for life.”
One of the key takeaways from this initiative was that if Bosch’s solutions could ensure better rider safety on challenging terrains, it definitely makes the everyday commute on smoother city roads a lot safer too.
At Bosch, our intent is to blaze new trails, which is why we strive to continuously add on our list of innovations. We are determined to evolve the existing Internal Combustion Engine to ensure sustainability, lay the building blocks of a greener tomorrow, and innovate solutions to make the roads safer for our citizens. This forward-looking attitude coupled with Bosch’s diligence towards offering new solutions is assisting key players realize the vision of an automated, connected, and electrified mobility landscape.