The German auto parts supplier Bosch is a little mad that the European Union is pushing so hard for the electrification of the auto industry. Bosch, one of the largest suppliers in the auto industry proficient in electronics, is upset that the EU has become “fixated” on electric cars, as the Financial Times reports.
The company’s CEO, Volkman Denner, said there are other low-emission alternatives that the EU is overlooking, citing hydrogen and synthetic fuels as viable candidates to achieve lower carbon emissions, per the Financial Times.
Denner even accused the Euro bloc of being short-sighted for phasing out internal combustion. That’s rich.
The Bosch boss went on to claim that the proper way to address climate change isn’t by killing internal combustion, but its energy source, from the FT:
Climate action is not about the end of the internal-combustion engine. It’s about the end of fossil fuels. And while electromobility and green charging power make road transport carbon neutral, so do renewable fuels.
I get where Denner is going here, but there’s a good reason to be suspicious. Bosch is reportedly investing in internal combustion for the next three decades. To say it makes Bosch seem pouty would be an understatement. All it looks like is that Bosch wants to keep making money off ICE and therefore objects to the phaseout.
(I’d be more inclined to take Bosch’s statements in good faith if the company wasn’t still on the periphery of Dieselgate. Recall that Bosch was one of VW’s main suppliers then, and was involved in lawsuits, criminal investigations, and settlements as part of the scandal.)
The company’s knee-jerk reaction comes as regulations take shape around Euro 7, which will apply in 2025. These regulations will impose even stricter criteria for emissions. Strict enough that auto lobbyists in the region see Euro 7 “as a de facto ban on the internal combustion engine,” according to the FT.
Of course Bosch has come to the defense of internal combustion by claiming it has become efficient enough to “no longer have an appreciable impact on air quality.” Again, these comments from Denner run rich, because it’s pretty obvious that in aggregate, EVs are the better way forward than ICEs, no matter how efficient the latter become (or don’t.)
Bosch will keep making a lot of money from the industry, hedging with investments into hydrogen tech, and it’s also thrown five billion Euros into EV R&D. Bosch expects to break even with that investment even before Euro 7 kicks in in 2025.
CORRECTION April 23, 2021: We initially stated that Bosch hasn’t been implicated in Dieselgate. It was named in lawsuits and settled for several hundred million dollars in one against it and FCA.