Europe’s energy crisis offers a hard lesson on the risks of focusing on one fuel source -- in the case of the electric-vehicle industry, battery cells, Markus Heyn, head of mobility services for Robert Bosch, told the Stuttgarter Zeitung.
“We are currently seeing the consequences of the gas shortage for Germany and Europe because we prepared too few alternatives,” Heyn, who is also a board member of the supplier, told the paper.
“In the automotive industry, we should use this occasion to ask ourselves what we can do if there should ever be too few battery cells.”
In that case, he said, “everyone would certainly like to see an alternative to battery power. But this will only exist if we have prepared it in good time.”
Battery alternatives that need to be considered, Heyn told the paper, include fuel cells that use hydrogen and oxygen to power electric motors. The infrastructure being developed for long-haul trucks is well-suited as a “backbone for supplying passenger cars,” he added.
Bosch will invest more than $200 million to produce fuel cell stacks in the U.S. by expanding its existing Anderson facility in South Carolina, to support fuel cell production, which is planned to start in 2026 creating at least 350 new jobs.
Batteries are among the major cost drivers for EVs, and improving technology has until now typically delivered annual efficiency gains.
That trajectory has faltered, though, as the cost of raw materials rises, challenging automaker forecasts that EVs will soon offer a similar margin to combustion-engine vehicles.
Bosch ranks No. 1 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $49.1 billion in 2021.