SB LiMotive also revealed that it will be supplying lithium-ion battery cells to BMW, which is the first customer for the joint venture since its inception in 2008. The German automaker will install the battery cells in its first electric car, which is currently being developed as part of the "Megacity Vehicle" project. The zero-emission vehicles will go into series production in the first half of the next decade.
Meanwhile, Bosch Automotive has also announced that in 2009 alone, it will be investing three billion Euros into research and development to help fast track the development of economically viable electric-powered cars. Bosch predicts that electric cars will reach a sales volume of 500,000 worldwide by 2015, and that they will make a noticeable presence in major thoroughfares by 2020. The company revealed that it will start series production of the Bosch hybrid engine technology in early 2010. On the other hand, Bosch expects that internal-combustion engines will remain unchallenged for the next 20 years primarily because of technological and cost challenges of producing the electric car.
Volker Bischoff, General Manager, Bosch Middle East FZE, said, "The start of construction work on the lithium-ion battery production plant in South Korea is a significant positive development for us and complements our greater vision of eventually introducing electrically-powered cars in mainstream markets, both globally and in the Middle East. Increasing urbanization and the growing population in major cities across the region make hybrid automobiles – and ultimately electric cars – a perfect solution to help control the rising energy consumption.”
“To bring the electric car in the market quickly, production costs must be reduced by half to two-thirds. Equally important is for us to overcome the technological challenges to powertrain electrification. Bosch’s hybrid technology stands at the middle ground, providing a more efficient and cost-effective solution compared with conventional internal-combustion engines, while paving the way for introducing electrically-powered cars eventually,” he added.
Bosch expects the proportion of diesel vehicles in worldwide automobile production to increase slightly from 25 to 28 percent by 2016, particularly in Asia’s emerging markets and in the US. In this regard, Bosch has revealed that it is developing a new technology that will reduce fuel consumption of engines by up to one third, while cutting down carbon dioxide emissions of diesel cars to less than 99 grams per kilometer.
Samsung SDI and Bosch set up the SB LiMotive Co. Ltd joint venture in 2008 to develop the lithium-ion battery for hybrid and electric vehicles for series production, and then to manufacture the battery. By 2013, the joint venture partners intend to have invested some USD 500 million in their company. Apart from Ulsan, the company has locations in Giheung (Korea), Stuttgart (Germany), Orion and Springboro (USA). SB LiMotive currently employs some 500 associates.