Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, broke ground on a fuel cell centre in Wuxi, China, which paves the way for technological breakthroughs in their application in both commercial vehicles and passenger cars.
“As the first of its kind outside of Germany, the fuel cell centre in Wuxi marks another strategic step for Bosch in boosting the widespread manufacture and adoption of fuel cell products,” said Dr. Uwe Gackstatter, President of the Bosch Powertrain Solutions Division, at the groundbreaking ceremony. “The advantages of the technology for electrifying heavy commercial vehicles are clear and include zero local emissions, high energy-conversion efficiency and a diverse range of hydrogen sources.”
Hydrogen fuel cells are a promising technology due to their lightweight, long driving range, short refilling time and zero local emissions, and are especially suited for use in medium and heavy commercial vehicles that travel long distances. Bosch is well-positioned to leverage its solid experience and expertise in fuel cell technology due to its competencies in key components and comprehensive system engineering services, helping OEMs and fuel cell engine manufacturers improve system performance and reliability while reducing both system and vehicle costs.
The newly established centre in Wuxi will be mainly engaged in R&D and the trial production of hydrogen fuel cell products, which will cover a full array of test equipment for key components, stacks, and even fuel cell systems. The centre will also house a sample production line for stacks, with construction set to be completed by the end of 2020 and small-scale production scheduled to begin in 2021. The centre will further strengthen Bosch’s local R&D and manufacturing capabilities and help the company serve the Chinese market more quickly and with added flexibility. Meanwhile, full cooperation on fuel cell technology with Bosch’s strategic Chinese customers will also drive innovation and has already begun.
“China is a strategically relevant market for the development and application of fuel cells,” said Wang Weiliang, Regional President of Bosch Powertrain Solutions China. “The fuel cell centre in Wuxi will progressively enhance Bosch’s local competitiveness, while the development and application of fuel cell key components such as hydrogen injection valves and electronic air compressors, as well as the manufacturing of sample stacks will create a solid foundation for mass production in the future. Furthermore, it will help us to better serve our local customers with innovative technology, localised products and flexible business models to support the transformation and upgrade of the Chinese automotive industry.”
Bosch will establish its first Innovation and Software Centre in the country in the east China city. Together with the fuel cell plant, the Innovation and Software Center will further expand Bosch’s presence in Wuxi and provide high-quality software support for all of Bosch China’s business segments, while demonstrating the company’s commitment to strengthening local innovation and software development competences and exploring technology solutions for the Chinese market.
In the future, the centre will mainly be responsible for innovation and R&D in electrification, connected mobility, connected solutions, and big data platforms. With an initial investment that exceeds CNY35 million (€4.5 million or $4.9 million), the centre is scheduled to be completed and put into service in mid-2020.