ICE Can Survive in a Carbon-Neutral World, Says Bosch

Bosch envisages a time when ICE vehicle emissions can be lowered to levels that clean air monitoring equipment will not be able to register.

While the automotive supplier giant is pledged to a ‘technology neutral’ approach to powertrain innovation, it will keep an open mind on which technologies provide the best solution to lowering global CO2 emissions in the near, medium and long term. Answering journalist questions after the annual Bosch press conference, Stefan Hartung, member of the board responsible for mobility, powertrain and electric drives, insisted both diesel and gasoline engines have a vital role to play meeting European CO2 targets as part of the Green Deal strategy.

The company has been deeply involved in electric powertrains including its eAxle which integrates motor, power electronics and transmission components into a compact unit providing direct drive a vehicle’s axle. During the presentation, Bosch chairman Dr Volkmar Denner, pledged that the company will be pushing ahead with hydrogen fuel cell technology for heavy-duty vehicles and begin manufacturing its own fuel stack by 2022.

However, none of these electric innovations preclude continuing development of ICE technology, said Hartung. Alluding to the potential of using carbon-neutral synthetic liquid fuels in future ICE technology, he said: “The reduction on the emissions side with less pollutants with the standards of Euro 6, Euro 6 d and Euro 7 which will come up shortly, we have already demonstrated that we can undercut all these limits.

“We think we can get to a level where the emissions will be practically no longer measurable beyond the background [tires and brake emissions] which is always there. There is demand for these types of powertrains but we would need more consumer incentives to generate even more demand.”

Hartung also believes there is still a lot of scope for developing truly clean ICE powertrains for the mass market. He said: “The next generation of ICE will come where you will not be able to differentiate whether a diesel or gasoline or no vehicle at all has passed the emissions measuring station.”

Naturally, the use of carbon neutral fuels will boost the diesel power plant’s already impressively small levels of climate warming CO2 emissions, he added. “By using specific carbon neutral liquid fuels they will be cleaner and that is what the world will need.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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