17th Technical Congress in Filderstadt – VDA and Bosch hold joint press conference
At a joint press conference at the VDA’s 17th Technical congress, Matthias Wissmann, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), and Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH and a member of the VDA’s Managing Board, drew attention to the major opportunities associated with electric mobility and with connected and automated driving.
VDA President Matthias Wissmann stated, “Automated driving and vehicle connectivity bring us a lot closer to the goal of accident-free driving. Ninety percent of accidents are due to human error. Advanced driver assistance systems can greatly reduce these causes and actually avoid many accidents. So above all connected and automated driving improves road safety. In addition, it makes mobility more efficient. Intelligent traffic guidance is a major factor in coping with the increasing volume of traffic and avoiding congestion.
“Automated driving will arrive step by step: from assisted driving to partially and highly automated driving and then all the way to fully automated driving. The technical developments are progressing by leaps and bounds. But we also need appropriate legal regulations. Politicians should expand the legal framework in parallel with technical progress. We need specifications for the digital infrastructure and for using and exchanging data.
“Equally, we require test routes for connected vehicles. The exchange of information between vehicles, the infrastructure and other sources must be tested in real-life road conditions. The German government is working on creating a standardized, nationwide legal framework for testing connected driving in real-life traffic. The Federal Transport Minister has already put forward proposals for the first such test route. These are important steps and we welcome them.
“However, for the new technology we also need a secure legal framework at European and global level. A concerted effort from national and international politicians will be essential. We are discussing this intensively with the federal authorities and the European Commission.
“Worldwide, the German automotive industry invests almost 30 billion euros in research and development – every year. Germany receives the largest portion of this. Our industry thus accounts for around one third of all industrial research investment in Germany. And in the coming three to four years, the German manufacturers and suppliers want to invest 16 to 18 billion euros just in research into connected and automated driving.
“The average CO2 output from passenger cars newly registered in the EU has fallen by one third since 1995. This success in reducing CO2 is primarily a result of optimizing classical drive trains – gasoline engines and clean diesels – and the consistent use of lightweight construction. But the potentials in this field are gradually becoming exhausted. Each additional gram of CO2 that we save is associated with exponentially rising costs. We will soon come up against the limits of what is economically and physically feasible, because technological progress must also be affordable for customers buying new vehicles – both today and tomorrow! Otherwise there will be a huge mismatch between supply and demand. It therefore does not make much sense to continue measuring action on climate solely in terms of the emission values of new vehicles.
“The German automotive industry fulfills its obligations on the supply side. Take electric mobility as an example: by the end of this year our manufacturers will have launched a total of 29 volume models with electric propulsion onto the roads. In 2014 the figure was already 17. International comparison of electric vehicle providers shows that Germany leads in complete systems for electric mobility.
“At this time the absolute market volume is still modest, but the market demonstrates high growth rates. Last year over 13,100 electric passenger cars were registered – either battery electric vehicles or plug-in hybrid cars. That was an increase of 70 percent. But for electric mobility to really take off, politicians will have to take action. The Electric Mobility Act is an initial step in the right direction, and now additional measures should follow swiftly. We need a smart policy that provides incentives and stimulation. One instrument could be 50-percent depreciation in the first year for commercially used electric vehicles, as proposed by the National Platform for Electric Mobility. We support this approach because it could boost the corporate fleets.”
Dr. Volkmar Denner, Chairman of the Board of Management at Robert Bosch GmbH, said: “Automobiles are facing the best time ever: connecting to the internet makes vehicles safer, increases the pleasure of driving, and reduces fuel consumption. Connectivity makes cars more efficient.”
As an example, the Bosch CEO mentioned the connected electronic horizon. “In the future this Bosch technology will deliver important traffic information about mobile construction sites, congestion and accidents in real time. This will enable further improvements in existing functions such as start/stop-coasting. At the same time, plug-in hybrids can use it to realize a predictive operating strategy. Technologies like these will bring about a double-digit percentage reduction in CO2 emissions. The EU should recognize these efficiency-raising measures as eco innovations.
“The improvements in fuel consumption due to start/stop-coasting and an optimized operating strategy will have the greatest impact in real-life road traffic. However, they are not applied in the current consumption measuring cycle (NEDC). A connected car drives with more “foresight” than any human being. With right up-to-date maps, the car can calculate not only the most efficient route but also the exact remaining distance. Furthermore, intelligent connectivity makes electrified vehicles more suitable for everyday use.
“Ten years from now, more than 15 percent of all new vehicles around the world will be electrified. Of these, 13 million autos will be able to cover at least urban journeys on electric power only. To further extend the electric range of hybrids and electric cars, Bosch is also improving electronic battery management. This can increase the electric range of a car by up to another ten percent and give new impetus to electric mobility.”
Note for editorial offices:
The 17th Technical Congress organized by the VDA is taking place in Filderstadt (near Stuttgart) on March 19 and 20, 2015. Europe’s largest meeting for specialists focuses on the thematic fields of “Environment, Energy and Electric Mobility” and “Vehicle Safety and Electronics.” The congress attracts around 500 participants from many countries and high-ranking representatives from the vehicle industry, politics and academia. Over 40 speakers from the automotive industry will present information on the latest technological trends. Robert Bosch GmbH is the congress premium partner.