Germany’s Bosch Warns EV Industry Over Battery Cell Reliance

A vehicle at a Tesla Supercharger station in El Cerrito, Calif. (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg News)

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Europe’s energy crisis offers a hard lesson on the risks of focusing on one fuel source — in the case of the electric vehicle industry, battery cells, according to Markus Heyn, head of mobility services for Robert Bosch GmbH.

“We’re currently seeing the consequences of the gas shortage for Germany and Europe because we prepared too few alternatives,” Heyn, who’s also a board member of the auto parts company, told the Sept. 19 edition of the Stuttgarter Zeitung. “In the automotive industry, we should use this occasion to ask ourselves what we can do if there should ever be too few battery cells.”

In that case, he said, “everyone would certainly like to see an alternative to battery power. But this will only exist if we have prepared it in good time.”

Battery alternatives that need to be considered, Heyn told the paper, include fuel cells that use hydrogen and oxygen to power electric motors. The infrastructure being developed for longhaul trucks is well-suited as a “backbone for supplying passenger cars,” he added.

Batteries are among the major cost drivers for electric vehicles, and improving technology has until now typically delivered annual efficiency gains. That trajectory has faltered, though, as the cost of raw materials rises, challenging automaker forecasts that EVs will soon offer a similar margin to combustion-engine vehicles.

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