Robert Bosch is building a new semiconductor factory in Reutlingen, Germany. CEO Franz Fehrenbach explained the strategic importance of the factory to Matthias Krust, a reporter at Automotive News Europe sister publication Automobilwoche.
Bosch prepares for EV boom with new electronic chip factory
Electronics, especially in automobiles, has been one of Bosch's core competencies for decades. We developed innovations such as electronic engine control. The share of electronics in cars has risen continually. Electric drive will trigger a powerful surge in demand. We will be prepared for it with our new semiconductor production.
In contrast to standard semiconductors, there are very special requirements that apply to electronic components and micromechanical chips for the auto industry.
For example, they must perform reliably for more than 20 years as sensors for ESP and airbags. Very few companies in the world offer special components such as our mechanical chips, and Bosch leads in this area.
We consider the key criteria for the selection of a location to be infrastructure, qualified employees, and proximity to customers, and not short-term subsidies.
For a semiconductor factory, you add the proximity to research and development as a special factor. In Reutlingen, 1,200 developers are tied to production. That is a decisive advantage that many people envy. With the new manufacturing, we can also continue to employ workers from a neighboring factory that had to be closed in the summer of 2009 due to a customer's decision.
A large portion of our production is integrated into Bosch products. We also have joint projects with other semiconductor manufacturers such as Infineon. More than 90 percent of the semiconductors and micromechanical chips are used in cars. But we increasingly supply the consumer industry.