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Daimler and Bosch team up on EV motors

Left: The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive is undergoing world-wide trials.

New Daimler-Bosch EV battery joint venture to welcome sales to other car-makers

18 Apr 2011

ELECTRIC motors to be designed and made by a proposed new joint venture between Daimler and long-time technology partner Robert Bosch in Germany will be offered to other car-makers.

Daimler, which already has electric vehicle (EV) technology deals with American EV sportscar pioneer Tesla and China’s battery-cum-car-maker BYD, says its first all-electric car powered by the new motors will roll off the production line in 2012, but the powertrains will not be exclusive to its Mercedes-Benz and Smart brands.

A joint statement by the companies says subsequent sales to other auto-makers of the motors made by the consortium will be handled by Bosch.

European reports suggest the first Daimler product to benefit from the new motors will be a Smart EV. Daimler is already testing all-electric versions of its Smart ForTwo Electric Drive prototype, with about 500 cars in real-world trials world-wide.

 center imageLEft: AMG SLS E-cell.

The Smart Electric Drive’s 30kW/120Nm electric motor is mounted in the back of the car, pushing it from zero to 60km/h in 5.5 seconds and on to a top speed of 120km/h. The 16.5kWh lithium-ion battery provides enough electricity for a 135km range.

At the other end of the scale, an all-electric version of the Mercedes-Benz SLS supercar is also on the drawing board for a 2013 release.

Mercedes showed the gullwing-bodied SLS AMG E-Cell concept at this year’s Detroit motor show.

The 6.2-litre V8 that normally powers the SLS was stripped out and replaced with four electric motors – one near each wheel – generating a total 392kW of power and 880Nm of torque. The 0-100km/h acceleration time is said to be 4.0 secondsElectric motors for cars such as the SLS E-Cell will come from the new joint-venture company that is planning to establish factories near Daimler’s headquarters at Stuttgart and at Hildesheim, where Bosch has existing operations.

Daimler said it and Bosch had signed a letter of intent on the 50-50 project, and that negotiations on the arrangement should be wrapped up by the middle of this year.

“Both companies aim, by bundling their competencies, to accelerate development advances in electric motors as well as to make accordant synergies accessible,” a Daimler statement said.

Daimler recently announced plans to slash the average CO2 emissions of its passenger car range to 125 grams per kilometre by 2016 – a reduction of 30 per cent over 2007 levels. The new goal improves on the previously announced target of 140g/km by 2012.

In China, Daimler has created a 50-50 joint venture with BYD, the fledgling car-maker backed by American billionaire Warren Buffet, with the objective of launching its first EV by 2013.

China Car Times claims Mercedes-Benz is in charge of the car’s design and engineering while BYD – China’s largest lithium-ion battery maker for phones, laptops and the like – is contributing its electric technology.

In Australia, Bosch is a partner in EV Engineering, a start-up consortium developing seven all-electric “proof of concept” Holden Commodores in a project partly funded by a $3.5 million grant from the federal government’s green car innovation fund.

While the commitment from Bosch is said to be only chassis electronics engineering, EV Engineering CEO and director Ian McCleave told GoAuto at the project launch in February that potentially Bosch might support the electric motor and battery side of the project.

Meanwhile, Daimler also announced last week that 300 Smart ForTwo EVs will form the basis of an all-electric fleet of vehicles run through a car-sharing rental program in Amsterdam before the end of the year.

The so-called car2go program is currently operating in Germany (Ulm and, from last week, Hamburg) and in the US (Austin, Texas), and is said to have more than 35,000 members worldwide.

Daimler chairman of the board of management and head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Dieter Zetsche, said: “The future of mobility has arrived. The Smart ForTwo Electric Drive has already been delivered to our customers in 18 markets worldwide, and car2go, our innovative mobility concept, has proven to be a success in Germany and in the US.

“We will next set a new benchmark for sustainable individual mobility by bringing these two intelligent concepts together.”

Daimler says all cars in the program will be equipped with latest telematics technology, “allowing fully automated, easy and convenient rental operations”.

According to the car-maker, around 300 electric charging stations are expected to be installed in Amsterdam by end of 2011 for public use, increasing to 1000 by end of 2012.

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