Bosch resolutely advocates hydrogen drive

September 02, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Bosch resolutely advocates hydrogen drive
Battery or hydrogen? The drive source of the post-combustion era is being hotly debated - and in industrial practice the battery electric drive has already taken a clear pole position. Bosch, the world's largest automotive supplier, questions this claim and makes a clear commitment to hydrogen propulsion. That is, for certain applications.

How economical is it to operate even heavy-duty trucks with a 40-ton payload over long distances using purely battery electric power? The engineers from Stuttgart have a very clear answer to this rhetorical question - and they give seven reasons. The answer is of course: No, a battery drive is not economical for heavy-duty traffic over long distances. If only because of the battery weight, long charging times, and limited ranges, the electric drive with current battery technology is not the first choice for heavy commercial vehicles, according to the Bosch experts. As an alternative, they cite the fuel cell drive, which the company plans to bring into series production by around 2022 / 2023. With regeneratively produced hydrogen - i.e. hydrogen generated with electricity from renewable sources - a climate-neutral transport of goods and commodities is possible. Initially for commercial vehicles, but as technological maturity progresses also for passenger cars, the experts are convinced of this.

According to Bosch engineers, there are seven important reasons for the fuel cell:

Climate neutrality: Hydrogen is produced by electrolysis with a high input of electrical energy. If this energy is obtained from regenerative sources such as wind and solar power, the fuel cell drive is completely climate-neutral. a CO2 balance is better, especially for large, heavy vehicles, than for purely battery electric drives, if the CO2 emissions for production, operation and disposal are added together. In addition to the hydrogen tank, a much smaller battery is sufficient in fuel cell vehicles as an intermediate buffer/storage tank. This significantly reduces the CO2 footprint created during production.

Application versatility: Hydrogen has a high energy density. One kilogram of hydrogen contains as much energy as 3.3 liters of diesel. For 100 kilometers, a good seven kilograms is sufficient for a 40-ton truck. If the tank is empty, H2 can be filled up in a few minutes, as with a combustion engine; hours of charging cycles as with a battery electric drive are unnecessary. In order to achieve the Parisian climate protection goals, Bosch believes that hydrogen should in future power not only cars and commercial vehicles, but also trains, aircraft and ships.


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