This story first appeared in the May 23 print edition of the GSA Business Report.
Bosch has a new project on the rise in Anderson, company President Mike Mansuetti told hundreds of business leaders gathered from across the 10 counties for Upstate SC Alliance’s annual meeting on May 13.
Mansuetti couldn’t share much more than that, but he did tell the audience that the company’s South Carolina team is ramping up production for both its internal combustion engine and electrification powertrain production.
“We see by 2030, electrification growing to about 30% of the market, but the rest of it will still be traditional what we call internal combustion engine or some variation of the ICE, for example, with a hybrid power charge,” he said. “So there’s still a lot of technology that remains to be developed, especially if we’re going to meet those CO2 and sustainability targets that we all want to meet that will continue to require improvements in, let’s say, the classic combustion technology.”
Bosch’s way forward will focus on achieve a balance between innovation, such as the company’s forays into long distance hydrogen fuel cell research, and its legacy with longstanding customers.
In 2021, the private company’s total global sales increased by 10%, bringing Bosch’s revenue to $90 billion. About 8% to 9% of the company’s total annual investment goes to research and development.
“Any customer, whatever their power train needs are, we want to be there to help serve them and help continue this journey in electrification,” Mansuetti said.
In Bosch’s Charleston plant, that means transforming its former gasoline and diesel fuel pump operations with a $80 million investment into a team that focuses in on both electrification and high-pressure fuel injection technologies.
According to previous reporting, the Charleston investment was set to reach the facility by 2023 as part of the company’s $250 million earmarked for U.S. mobility solutions in 2021.
Bosch’s production for the auto industry makes up 60% of its business alongside its appliance, power tool, energy tech and surveillance tech operations, according to the company president. Several years ago, the company redubbed that branch “mobility solutions” to reflect the growing number of other vehicles added to their portfolio.
Since Mansuetti first began working in the fuel pump industry 30 years ago, engineers have enhanced the fuel injection pressures by 200 or 300 times.
And with additional developments come additional challenges. Bosch’s team is working to offset the increased weight of 1,000 pounds with today’s batteries.
“So, when we look at electrification, we’re looking at also, for example, the dynamics on chassis control systems,” he said. “Charleston is also producing our ABS antilock breaks, for example. This is a basic part of now the chassis control and function. And together with our steering technology – we’re moving towards steer by wire, so actually disconnecting the steering wheel from the steering rack if you will – there’s a lot more things coming in electrification.”
The Upstate will also play a role in Bosch’s future involvement in the electric vehicle market, said Mansuetti. Especially on the tail of the manufacturer’s achievement of CO2 neutrality in 2020 as the “first, largest industrial conglomerate worldwide to do that.”
Bosch’s $250 million investment will also go toward streamlining operations with artificial intelligence and internet of things technologies, thus offsetting some labor needs, according to a previous report.