Bosch and CATL have agreed on a long-term cooperation for battery cells. Perhaps surprisingly, this is not about battery cells for purely electric cars, but for 48-volt hybrids.
“We have to understand battery cells, but we do not have to make them ourselves,” said Stefan Hartung, Bosch board member and chairman of the Mobility Solutions division, reaffirming the supplier’s well-known stance. The partners will jointly define the specifications for the battery cells, and CATL will then design, develop, and produce them in accordance with Bosch requirements.
Bosch is certain that 48-volt hybridization will become the “minimum standard” for combustion engines in the future. According to Hartung, this will become increasingly important for reasons of efficiency and it will no longer be possible to “let braking energy go to waste”. With the agreement, Bosch is securing the long-term supply of battery cells for these systems. “With CATL, we have gained an established cell specialist for lithium-ion accumulators as a partner,” said Hartung. “Together with our systems knowhow and expertise in battery management, we will expand our strong position in the market for 48-volt batteries.”
Bosch started making the first generation of the 48-volt battery in its plant in Wuxi, China, late last year. The German engineering giant says that the USP of this latest version of the battery is that it is compact and passively cooled. This means automakers can integrate it into their vehicle models without needing additional cooling units.
In addition to batteries, Bosch offers components such as DC/DC converters and electrical machines for 48-volt systems. By 2025, Bosch estimates that almost 20 per cent of new cars sold worldwide each year will have a 48-volt system with the corresponding battery on board. Demand for 48-volt systems is particularly noticeable in Europe and China.
Along with current cooperation on hybrids, Bosch wants to continue to benefit from electric mobility. By 2025, Bosch plans to increase its sales in this area more than tenfold to five billion euros.