Internet of ‘car-things’

Cars still have their best days ahead of them. Connecting vehicles to the internet makes them safer, more fun to drive, and reduces fuel consumption. In the future, this Bosch technology will provide real-time information about mobile construction zones, traffic jams, and accidents. On this basis, further improvements to existing functions such as start-stop coasting will be possible. At the same time, it will enable a predictive operating strategy for plug-in hybrids. Technologies such as this reduce CO2 emissions by up to 10 percent or more.

The reductions to consumption brought by start-stop coasting and an optimum operating strategy are most noticeable in real traffic conditions. In the New European Driving Cycle (NEDC), however, they have no effect. Using up-to-date maps, cars can precisely calculate their remaining range in addition to the most efficient route. At the same time, intelligent connectivity increases the suitability of electrified vehicles for everyday use. In only ten years, more than 15 % of new vehicles worldwide will be electrified. Of these, more than 13 million new vehicles will be able to run on electricity alone, at least in urban traffic.

Technically-sophisticated components make vehicles more economical and efficient, allowing them to meet the strict CO2 targets set by the European Commission. European regulations stipulate that in 2021, new vehicles will be allowed to emit an average of only 95 grams of CO2 per kilometre. This corresponds to just over four litres of fuel consumed per hundred kilometres. In 2013, new vehicles emitted an average of 132.9 grams of CO2 per kilometre. The EU recognizes especially environmentally-friendly technologies as “eco-innovations.” Automakers can use these as CO2 credits to reduce their fleet consumption levels. The maximum possible credit is 7 grams per kilometre.

(Source: Bosch)

Is a Moment the same as Torque and is it just about Levers?

A friend of mine just asked the following question after hearing Richard Hammond make a comment. She said:

“I think Hammond got it totally wrong when he gave a metaphor for a dragster suddenly swerving and crashing (a ‘moment’) as the difference between using a short-handled, smaller spanner to using a longer-handled, bigger spanner to tighten a bolt (no – in my book, the spanners show a difference in ‘leverage’). It is always recommended that women (yeah, yeah – depending on size and body-building, etc.) use longer-handled spanners, etc., because they give more leverage. Am I wrong, or missing something? Leverage, in my book, has nothing to do with “moments.” Come on e-learning teacher!”

And my reply is as follows (they are both correct by the way, but using different words for the same thing!):

A longer lever (spanner) means you need less force on the end of it to produce the same torque (turning force) at the nut – a person with a shorter spanner would need to apply more force on the spanner than you. This is as you suggest, the law of levers. Torque is arguably the same thing as a Moment which is defined as: “A turning effect produced by a force acting at a distance on an object.” Or perhaps better as: “The magnitude of a turning effect produced by a force acting at a distance, expressed as the product of the force and the distance from its line of action to a given point.”

Force (N) x distance (m) = Torque (Nm or Newton-meters)

However, moments are usually used to describe the way combinations of forces affect something. As long as all the moments on a car cancel each other out for example then it will not start to spin!

If you have a moment to spare – please add a comment! :)


PS. Why are we all so worried about Clark’s son at the moment – and who is Clark anyway?

PPS. To all my good friends in the USA a spanner is the proper name for a wrench…

Facts about battery technology for hybrid and electric powertrains

How range is increasing, why a battery has more than one lifetime, and how automated driving could change battery technology

Long service life, top quality, the highest degree of safety – we expect an enormous amount from high-voltage batteries in vehicles. That’s why today’s lithium-ion batteries, for example, have to be designed to run for at least 150,000 kilometers and to last up to 15 years. Even then, after spending all this time in the car, the battery still has to possess 80 percent of its original storage capacity and performance. “Developing a high-voltage vehicle battery that is cost efficient, powerful, and reliable at the same time – this is the proverbial rocket science,” says Dr. Joachim Fetzer, the member of the executive management of the Gasoline Systems division of Robert Bosch GmbH responsible for electromobility. Within the next five years, Bosch intends to offer high-voltage batteries that are twice as powerful. At the same time, the company is exploring new battery technologies.

Development: the path to the next generation of lithium-ion batteries

Lithium-ion technology: In the years to come, lithium-ion technology still has plenty of potential to offer. Today’s batteries have an energy density of approximately 115 W h/kg, but have the potential to go as high as 280 W h/kg. To research the next generation of lithium-ion batteries, Bosch has joined forces with GS Yuasa and Mitsubishi Corporation in a joint venture called Lithium Energy and Power. “The goal of this joint venture is to make lithium-ion batteries up to two times more powerful,” Fetzer says. In pursuit of this goal, the partners have pooled their strengths. GS Yuasa can apply its experience in cell optimization to creating a battery with a higher energy density and increased range. Bosch contributes its expertise in complex battery management and systems integration.

Post-lithium-ion batteries: Bosch’s corporate research department is working on post-lithium-ion batteries, such as those made using lithium-sulfur technology, which promises greater energy density and capacity. Bosch estimates that the earliest the lithium-sulfur battery will be ready for series production is the middle of the next decade.

Progress: battery management results in 10 percent more range

Cell chemistry: There are several ways to improve battery performance. For example, the material used for the anode and cathode plays a major role in the cell chemistry. Most of today’s cathodes consist of nickel-cobalt manganese (NCM) and nickel-carboxyanhydrides (NCA), whereas anodes are made of graphite, soft or hard carbon, or silicon carbon.

Cell voltage: High-voltage electrolytes can further boost battery performance, raising the voltage within the cell from 4.5 to 5 volts. The technical challenge lies in guaranteeing safety and longevity while improving performance.

Battery management: In terms of high-performance batteries, Bosch is focusing on driving forward the monitoring and management of the various cells as well as the overall system. The challenge is managing a high-voltage battery reliably, since up to ten microcontrollers regulate energy flow in the cells by means of a CAN bus system. Sophisticated battery management can further increase the range of a car by up to 10 percent – without altering the cell chemistry.

Infrastructure: automated vehicles have an effect on battery technology

Rapid-recharging charge spots: If there are lots of places where you can quickly charge your electric vehicle, then this will have a major impact on battery technology. The faster an electric vehicle’s battery can recharge, the less important its range becomes.

Automated driving: Fully automated vehicles make charging much more straightforward, since they can search for charge spots without any assistance from the driver. How this works is demonstrated by V-Charge, a project spearheaded by Bosch, VW, and a number of European universities. The idea is that within a parking garage, for instance, the driver would be able to use a smartphone app to direct their electric vehicle to a charge spot. When the driver comes back, the car returns to the pick-up spot by itself. Other variations on this theme are also possible; for example, a driver could request a vehicle from a car-sharing fleet by cell phone and have it come right away to a designated spot. Fleets are in fact another area where demands on the battery – such as those regarding its service life – are changing, since fleet vehicles are often in service for fewer than the 15 years estimated for vehicle batteries.

Three lifetimes: for a high-voltage battery, the car is just the first step

Different stages in the life of a battery: A fleet vehicle, which drives many kilometers in a short space of time, requires a new battery with full performance and capacity. In contrast, a slightly used battery can work just as well in cars that are driven only occasionally for short routes. That would reduce the overall cost of an electric car. Even after twelve years – the average service life of a car – the battery still retains 80 percent of its original performance and capacity. This means its components can still be useful, for example as a power storage unit.

“Second Life” project with BMW and Vattenfall: In Hamburg, used batteries from electric vehicles are being joined together to form a large power storage system. It can provide energy within seconds and helps stabilize the grid. With this project, Bosch, the BMW Group, and Vattenfall are working together to drive electromobility and energy storage forward.


(Source: Bosch Presse)

Money from the sunshine

Not very scientific yet (I will produce accurate figures over the year) but since fitting solar panels to my house 4 weeks ago, I have generated about 100 kWh. Again, I will be more accurate later, but I estimate I have used about half of this in the house and sold half of it back to the grid.

I get something like 4p a unit when I sell, so a mere £2 wil be my earnings for the month (4p x 50kWh) – or about £24 per year! However, I saved something like £7 (14p x 50 kWh) – or about £84 per year. A grand total of £108!

This is about the same as I would have got as interest on the cost of the panels – so near enough break even… But of course all this is in the middle of winter, roll on the summer sunshine!

Panels and snow

Toyota Motor Europe wants its batteries back

  • With 91% of its hybrid batteries being successfully collected through its own retail network, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) is now extending collection to independent end-of-life vehicle (ELV) treatment operators
  • TME aims to collect 100% of Toyota and Lexus customers’ used hybrid batteries, both through its own network and any authorised ELV operator across Europe
  • As part of its plans to realise this ambitious objective, TME has extended until March 31, 2018 the current battery recycling agreements with France-based Société Nouvelle d’Affinage des Métaux (SNAM) and Belgium-based Umicore N.V., responsible for the European-wide take back and sustainable recycling of nickel-metal hydride (NiMh) and Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in Europe, respectively

Brussels, Belgium – Hybrid batteries can generally outlast the vehicle life. These are therefore usually only recovered at the end of the vehicle life or in case of an accident. TME has built up years of experience running an internal collection process with Toyota and Lexus retailers/repairers through a reverse logistics mechanism. Toyota and Lexus dealers receive a new hybrid battery in return for giving back the old one, leading to an average 91% collection rate.

Now TME is stepping up efforts to drastically increase the volumes of collected used hybrid batteries. It set itself the challenging target of aiming to collect 100% of the batteries, coming from both its own network and from any authorised ELV treatment operators across the whole of Europe.

That is why the company announces today the extension, until March 31, 2018, of the current battery recycling agreements:

  1. Since 1 July 2011 France-based Société Nouvelle d’Affinage des Métaux (SNAM) has been taking back and recycling nickel-metal hydride (NiMh) batteries in Europe (installed in the Prius, Auris Hybrid, Auris Hybrid Touring Sports, Yaris Hybrid and all Lexus hybrids)
  2. Since 20 August 2012 Belgium-based Umicore N.V. has been taking back and recycling Lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries in Europe (installed in Toyota’s Prius+ and Prius Plug-in)

Steve Hope, General Manager TME Environment Affairs, says “When our customers buy a hybrid, they already know that they are in for outstanding fuel efficiency, a stress free driving experience and a reliable car.” He continues “This is yet another reason for a hybrid purchase. We ensure customers that their car excels in environmental performance during its entire lifecycle, giving customers another good reason to fall in love with hybrid.”

“Today used hybrid batteries are still mainly destined for recycling”, adds Steve Hope. “However, TME has started to research the different options for the remanufacturing of NiMh batteries.” Solutions include giving those batteries a second life as vehicle-to-vehicle or vehicle-to-stationary energy source.

Since 2000, around 850,000 Toyota and Lexus full hybrid vehicles have been sold in Europe. A cornerstone in Toyota’s environmental approach is the protection of natural resources, making sustainable recycling of high voltage batteries a key priority.



“Electric cars are good, but connected electric cars are better”

Says Bosch CEO Denner at Car Symposium 2015

  • Dr. Volkmar Denner: “Electrification will take combustion engines to new heights”
  • Falling battery prices will halve costs by 2020
  • E-bike as model: Europe’s most successful electric vehicle is about enjoyment

Powertrain electrification is picking up pace. The currently low oil price will not change that fact. This was the message underlined by Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH, at the Car Symposium in Bochum, Germany. Bosch expects roughly 15 percent of all new cars built worldwide to have at least a hybrid powertrain by 2025. For the Bosch CEO, advances in battery technology are the key to lower vehicle prices. Denner, whose responsibilities on the board of management include research and advance development, believes that by 2020 batteries will deliver twice as much energy density for half the present cost.

Electrification enhances the attractiveness of combustion engines
The EU has set strict fleet CO2 targets for 2021. For this reason alone, Bosch expects hybrid powertrains to become the standard for SUVs. This will give diesel and gasoline engines an extra boost. “Electrification will take combustion engines to new heights,” Denner said. With electric support, the combustion engines of the future will consume significantly less fuel and be even cleaner. And the additional torque from the electric motor will add to driving enjoyment. Moreover, falling battery prices will make hybrids considerably more affordable.

Denner used the example of China to show how important it is in a mass market for electric cars to be suitable for everyday use. There are already more than 120 million electric scooters on China’s roads. And in China, Bosch sells the electric wheel hub drive for such e-scooters. With a top speed of 40 kph, this popular form of transport is fast enough for the traffic conditions in megacities.

And their range of roughly 50 kilometers is sufficient for everyday journeys. “The reason these two-wheelers are such a success is that they are a perfect match for Chinese commuters’ needs,” Denner said. And because they are designed to meet these needs, many models are less expensive than two-wheelers with combustion engines. According to Denner, the task now is to make such tailor-made solutions possible for cars as well.

One app to recharge the battery, nationwide
The main factor helping to make electromobility convenient will be connecting vehicles with the internet of things. “Electric cars are good but connected electric cars are better,” Denner said. At the moment, recharging vehicles is complicated. But this is expected to become much more convenient. Bosch Software Innovations, the Bosch Group’s software and systems unit, has developed an app that makes it significantly easier to reserve the charge spots of different providers and pay for the electricity. Up to now, doing this would have required a different customer card for each provider. Now all drivers need is a smartphone, the app, and a PayPal account to recharge anywhere in Germany. Bosch also complements this with a software platform that links 80 percent of all charge spots in Germany. As this example shows, Bosch no longer sees itself solely as a supplier of automotive components. The company is now combining its expertise in all three mobility domains – automation, electrification, and connectivity – and will in the future be offering its customers integrated mobility solutions.

However, rational arguments alone are not enough to win drivers over to electric powertrains. In Bosch’s view, emotion and fun play a decisive role. The example of e-bike drives illustrates this. Bosch’s “electric tailwind” makes riding a bike a joy – for serious athletes as well as recreational cyclists. Bosch is now the European market leader in this area, and its e-bike drives feature in more than 50 bike brands. “The e-bike is the most successful electric vehicle in the EU,” Denner said, adding that customers pay considerably more on average for e-bikes than they do for classic ones. “For more than 100 years, riding a bike was a mechanical process. No one saw any reason to change it. Then along came the e-bike, and completely redefined a market everyone thought would never change,” Denner said. The same could be true for the auto industry, he added. The Bosch CEO stressed that the supplier of technology and services will be using its comprehensive systems and connectivity know-how to take electromobility a decisive step forward.

(Source: Bosch Media)

EV Charging points

A recent article in The Times follows that suggests we are wasting money on EV charging points – maybe I am now biased because I am about to buy such a vehicle, but it seems to me that unless the EV infrastructure is in place then they will never become common place and bring the environmental advantage we hope for. What do you think?

Electric car chargers waste parking spaces

Hundreds of subsidised electric car charging units are going unused for long periods and wasting valuable parking spaces, according to research by the RAC Foundation.

Almost two thirds (64 per cent) of the 905 charging units in London were not used at all in June despite a quadrupling in registrations of electric cars.

More than half the units, installed at a cost of more than £9 million to the tax-payer, were not used in either June 2013 or June 2014, according to Transport for London data released under the Freedom of Information Act. The most heavily used units were in the congestion charge zone, in which electric cars are exempt from the £11.50 daily charge.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said low usage should prompt a review of plans to install thousands of units. “The medium-term aim should be to encourage home, off-street and workplace charging, not turning valuable kerb space over to probably wealthy electric vehicle drivers,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Boris Johnson said the London mayor wanted to support a shift to ”more environmentally friendly vehicles”, adding that the extra charging points could support fleets of electric taxis and car clubs.

(Source: Ben Webster Environment Editor, The Times, 17/1/2015)

Solar panel experiment

Over the next year (it is January 2015 now) I will be running an experiment using domestic solar panels, energy saving and monitoring systems, and a plug in hybrid car. The plan is to see if I can run the car for free. The 4kW array of panels was fitted and commissioned on January 16th 2015. In the first week they generated 22kWh. I’m no expert (yet!) but this amount seems reasonable for the middle of winter. We will see.

Figure 1 Panels before fitting

Figure 2 DC panel connections

Figure 3 Cell arrangement

Figure 4 Details of the photo voltaic (PV) cells

Automated driving

Bosch makes Hollywood fiction a reality

K.I.T.T. replica co-stars at the CES in Las Vegas

  • Test cars fitted with Bosch technology can already drive themselves
  • Bosch is developing automated driving in California and Germany
  • Bosch sensors are the eyes and ears of modern vehicles
  • Bosch iBooster paves the way for automated driving
  • Bosch to present its technology portfolio at the Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace

Figure 1 At the CES in Las Vegas, Bosch will not only be presenting its extensive product portfolio for driver assistance functions and braking systems at the Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace. The company will also be exhibiting a true Hollywood legend: K.I.T.T. from the action series “Knight Rider”.

Hollywood did it first: in the 1980s, the dream factory created the action series “Knight Rider”, featuring a speaking and – more importantly – self-driving Pontiac Firebird Trans Am named K.I.T.T. Nearly 30 years later, automated driving is no longer just another TV fantasy. “Bosch is making science fiction reality, one step at a time,” says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, who sits on the Bosch board of management. Cars equipped with Bosch technology can already drive themselves in certain situations, such as in traffic jams or when parking. Bosch will be presenting its solutions at the Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace during the CES in Las Vegas (January 6-9, 2015).

Figure 2 On the Las Vegas Strip, a Bosch vehicle demonstrates how the traffic jam assist function works. In congested traffic up to a speed of 60 kph, the function brakes, accelerates, and keeps the vehicle in its lane – without any intervention by the driver.

As one of the world’s largest providers of mobility solutions, Bosch has been working on automated driving since 2011 at two locations – Palo Alto, California, and Abstatt, Germany. The teams at the two locations can draw on a worldwide network of more than 5,000 Bosch engineers in the field of driver assistance systems. The motivation behind the development at Bosch is safety. Worldwide, an estimated 1.3 million traffic fatalities occur each year, and the numbers are rising. In 90 percent of cases, human error is the cause.

Figure 3 Thanks to the traffic jam assist, drivers can now reach their destination more safely and with less stress. Driving along the Las Vegas Strip in a demonstration vehicle, drivers can see for themselves what the function is capable of.

From predictive emergency braking to traffic jam assistance

Assisting drivers in critical traffic situations can save lives. Studies suggest that, in Germany alone, up to 72 percent of all rear-end collisions resulting in casualties could be avoided if all cars were fitted with the Bosch predictive emergency braking system. Drivers can also reach their destinations safely and with minimum stress using the Bosch traffic jam assistant. At speeds of up to 60 kilometers per hour, the assistant brakes automatically in heavy traffic, accelerates, and keeps the car in its lane.

Figure 4 As one of the world’s largest providers of mobility solutions, Bosch has been working on automated driving since 2011. Cars equipped with Bosch technology can already drive themselves in certain situations, such as traffic jams or when parking.

“With driver assistance systems, Bosch expects to generate sales of one billion euros in 2016,” Hoheisel says. Assistance systems are the cornerstone for automated driving, which will become established in a gradual process. Bosch already has its sights on highly automated driving, in which drivers no longer have to constantly monitor the vehicle. “With Bosch highway pilots, cars will be driving automatically on freeways by 2020, from entrance ramp to exit ramp,” Hoheisel predicts. In the decade that follows, vehicles driving fully automated will be available, capable of handling any situations that arise.

Figure 5 Bosch is developing and testing automated driving at two locations – in Palo Alto, California, and Abstatt, Germany. The teams at the two locations can draw on a worldwide network of more than 5,000 Bosch engineers working in the field of driver assistance systems.

Bosch sensors are the car’s eyes and ears

Automated driving affects every aspect of the car – powertrain, brakes, steering – and requires comprehensive systems expertise. It is based on sensors featuring radar, video, and ultrasound technology, sensors Bosch has been manufacturing by the millions for many years. “Sensors are the eyes and ears that let vehicles perceive their environment,” Hoheisel says. Powerful software and computers process the collected information and ensure that the automated vehicle can move through traffic in a way that is both safe and fuel efficient.

As vehicles gradually take over more and more driving tasks, safety-critical systems such as brakes and steering must satisfy special requirements. Should one of these components fail, a fall-back is needed to ensure maximum availability. Bosch already has such a fall-back for brakes: the iBooster, an electromechanical brake booster. Both iBooster and the ESP braking control system are designed to brake the car – independently of each other – without the driver having to intervene.

Figure 6 Bosch has been testing automated driving with special demonstration vehicles on public roads in the U.S. and Germany since the beginning of 2013. Several thousand test kilometers have already been driven.

iBooster: essential for automated driving

In this way, the Bosch iBooster meets an essential requirement for automated driving. The brake booster can build up brake pressure independently, three times faster than an ESP system. If the predictive brake system recognizes a dangerous situation, the vehicle stops much faster. At the same time, the iBooster can also provide the gentle braking required by the ACC adaptive cruise control, all the way down to a complete stop. Moreover, it is practically silent.

Figure 7 The motivation behind the development of automated driving at Bosch is safety. Worldwide, an estimated 1.3 million traffic fatalities occur each year. Drivers can reach their destinations safely and with minimum stress using systems such as the Bosch traffic jam assistant. At speeds up to 60 kilometres per hour, the assistant brakes automatically in heavy traffic, accelerates, and keeps the car in its lane.

The iBooster is also a key component for hybrid and electric cars. One reason is that it does not require a vacuum, which otherwise has to be generated in a complex process by the combustion engine or a vacuum pump. Second, because in conjunction with ESP hev (designed especially for hybrid and electric vehicles), the brake booster can recover nearly all braking energy and convert it into electricity, which extends the e-vehicle’s range. Thanks to the iBooster, nearly all typical traffic delays can be used to recover maximum braking energy for the hybrid or electric vehicle’s electric motor. If the car has to brake sharply, or if the generator is unable to provide the necessary brake torque, the brake booster generates any additional brake pressure required in the conventional way, using the brake master cylinder.

Figure 8 Driver assistance systems are the cornerstone of automated driving, which will become established in a gradual process. Bosch has already set its sights on highly automated driving, in which drivers no longer have to constantly monitor their vehicle. With the Bosch highway pilot, cars will be driving themselves on freeways by 2020, from entrance ramp to exit ramp. In the decade that follows, vehicles will become fully automated, capable of handling any situations that arise.

Bosch technology at the Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace

At 2015 International CES in Las Vegas, Bosch will not only be presenting its extensive product portfolio for driver assistance functions and braking systems at the Vehicle Intelligence Marketplace. The company will also be exhibiting a true Hollywood legend: K.I.T.T. replica from the action series “Knight Rider”.

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