The “start-up” powertrain for electric cars: the Bosch e-axle offers greater range (2024)

Gerlingen, Germany – It’s now common knowledge that a more powerful battery will increase an electric car’s range. But can a new powertrain have a comparable impact? In the case of the Bosch electric axle drive, or e-axle, the answer is a definite yes. What’s so special about it is that Bosch has combined three powertrain components into one unit. The motor, power electronics, and transmission form one compact unit that directly drives the car’s axle. This makes the powertrain not only far more efficient, but more affordable as well. “With its e-axle, Bosch is applying the all-in-one principle to the powertrain,” says Dr. Rolf Bulander, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector. It is precisely for this reason that the new powertrain is a potentially huge business opportunity for Bosch. The components are very flexible, which means the e-axle can be installed in hybrids and electric cars, compact cars, SUVs, and even light trucks – a huge market.

A powertrain that also speeds up development times

“Economically speaking, the e-axle may turn out to be a major coup for Bosch,” Bulander says. The novel electrical powertrain is playing a key role in the company’s drive to be the global mass-market leader for electromobility from 2020. On the world’s roads, there are already well over 500,000 electric and hybrid cars fitted with Bosch components. Bosch thus has many years of experience in the manufacture of electric motors, axle drives, and power electronics. The expertise it has gathered in the process is now bearing fruit in its newly developed electric axle. With this component alone, Bosch is hoping to generate sales running into the billions.

The e-axle is the ‘start-up’ powertrain for electric cars – also at established automakers. It allows them to save valuable development time and to get their electric vehicles to market considerably faster.

Dr. Rolf Bulander, member of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector

As Bosch customizes the powertrain to each automaker’s requirements, customers no longer have the time-consuming task of developing new components. Samples of the electric axle have already been tested with customers. The start of mass production is planned for 2019. Bosch already has a flexible, globally applicable manufacturing concept for this component. The concept guarantees that each customer will get a customized solution that can be quickly integrated into its manufacturing operations.

Up to 6,000 Newton meters of torque and 300 kilowatts of power

The e-axle’s USP is its high level of versatility, which means it can be adapted to many types of vehicles. “Instead of reams of specifications, a few parameters are enough for Bosch to customize the e-axle,” says Dr. Mathias Pillin, the executive vice president for electromobility. All the customer has to do is state what performance, torque, and installation space they require, and Bosch then optimizes the rest of the powertrain to fit these parameters. In this way, a complete, customized powertrain can be delivered directly to an automaker’s assembly line. This is a further reason why the Bosch electric axle is the next logical step for powertrain engineering.

The powertrain can deliver between 50 and 300 kilowatts, and is therefore also capable of powering large vehicles such as SUVs completely electrically. Torque at the vehicle axle can range from 1,000 to 6,000 Newton meters. When installed in hybrid and electric vehicles, front- and rear-axle drive is possible. An electric axle delivering 150 kilowatts weighs roughly 90 kilograms, and thus far less than the combined individual components used so far. Compared with competing products, the distinguishing feature of the Bosch electric axle is an especially high peak performance combined with a high level of continuous performance. In other words, the electrical powertrain can accelerate better and maintain a high speed for a longer period. To achieve this, Bosch has not only redesigned the system as a whole, but also improved the motor and power electronics components.

Q&A – Additional information about the Bosch electric axle

What makes the electric axle more efficient than previous electrical powertrains?

Highly efficient individual components are the basis for a high level of overall efficiency. In this respect, Bosch has the benefit of years of experience in the market. In addition, efficiency losses are minimized by reducing interfaces and components such as high-voltage cables, plugs, and cooling units. One of Bosch’s strengths is its ability to combine individual components to form systems, to use the interactions in the system, and in this way to arrive at an overall optimum. In the case of the e-axle, this relates not only to efficiency, but also to things such as acoustics and electromagnetic compatibility.

When will the e-axle be available in the market?

Bosch has had electric axle drives in the market since 2012 (in the Peugeot 3008 and Fiat 500e, for example), but the power electronics was not fully integrated into them. With the new generation of the electric axle, Bosch is in the development phase, and is in contact with automakers from around the world. More precisely, samples of the electric axle are ready for use, and are currently being tested. Start of production is planned for 2019 at the latest.

What vehicles can it be used in?

The Bosch electric axle is designed so that it can be adapted to many types of vehicles. When installed in hybrid and electric vehicles, front- and rear-axle drive is possible. This applies to any vehicles up to a total weight of 7.5 metric tons, and thus to light trucks as well as passenger cars.

Why is the e-axle less expensive than the powertrains used up to now for electric cars?

Since the e-axle combines power electronics, electric motor, and transmission in a single component, fewer parts are needed. For example, the new electric powertrain does completely without thick and expensive copper cables linking the components. In addition, the cooling system can be simplified, and there is no need for bearings for rotating components. This reduces the powertrain’s cost while increasing its efficiency. Placing the transmission close to the motor saves valuable installation space, which is always an important factor in the auto industry.

How deeply is Bosch involved in electromobility?

On the world’s roads, there are already well over 500,000 electric and hybrid cars fitted with Bosch components. In its efforts to make a breakthrough in electromobility possible alone, the company invests 400 million euros annually. The company has already won more than 30 electromobility-related orders from international automakers.

Tags:Elektromobility,e-axle,electric engine,Motor,Powertrain

More information

The Bosch innovations on show at the IAA 2017

EXPERIENCE BOSCH AT THE IAA 2017 in Frankfurt: Bosch believes the mobility of the future will be accident-free, emissions-free, and stress-free. On a technological level, Bosch wants to achieve the objectives of zero accidents, zero emissions, and zero stress through automation, electrification, and connectivity. At the IAA 2017, Bosch will be presenting its latest solutions in each of these three spheres – solutions that make driving safer and more efficient, and turn cars into a third living environment.

BOSCH PRESS CONFERENCE: From 13:15 to 13:40 local time on Tuesday, September 12, 2017, with Dr. Volkmar Denner, chairman of the board of management of Robert Bosch GmbH and Dr. Rolf Bulander, chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector, at the Bosch booth A03 in Hall 8.

FOLLOW the Bosch IAA 2017 highlights at and on Twitter: #BoschIAA

Basic information

Mobility is the largest Bosch Group business sector. In 2023, its sales came to 56.2 billion euros, or just under 60 percent of total Group sales. This makes the Bosch Group one of the leading mobility suppliers. Bosch Mobility pursues a vision of mobility that is safe, sustainable, and exciting. For its customers, the outcome is integrated mobility solutions. The business sector’s main areas of activity are electrification, software and services, semiconductors and sensors, vehicle computers, advanced driver assistance systems, systems for vehicle dynamics control, repair-shop concepts, as well as technology and services for the automotive aftermarket. Bosch is synonymous with important automotive innovations, such as electronic engine management, the ESP anti-skid system, and common-rail diesel technology.

The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 429,000 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2023). The company generated sales of 91.6 billion euros in 2023. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. With its business activities, the company aims to use technology to help shape universal trends such as automation, electrification, digitalization, connectivity, and an orientation to sustainability. In this context, Bosch’s broad diversification across regions and industries strengthens its innovativeness and robustness. Bosch uses its proven expertise in sensor technology, software, and services to offer customers cross-domain solutions from a single source. It also applies its expertise in connectivity and artificial intelligence in order to develop and manufacture user-friendly, sustainable products. With technology that is “Invented for life,” Bosch wants to help improve quality of life and conserve natural resources. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 470 subsidiary and regional companies in over 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch’s global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. Bosch’s innovative strength is key to the company’s further development. At 136 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 90,000 associates in research and development, of which nearly 48,000 are software engineers.

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  • A world-first: The powertrain for the electric long-haul truck
  • Bosch at the IAA 2017


The “start-up” powertrain for electric cars: the Bosch e-axle offers greater range (2024)
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