A sneak preview of some Bosch components on its way to India

Every successful carmaker stands on the shoulders of component manufacturers who supply them with parts. Manufacturers such as German giant Bosch are responsible for every second hi-tech bit seen on cars from Audi, to Porsche, BMW, Mercedes and Skoda. Probably the German car manufacturer’s greatest strength and ally, no exaggeration, the good news is that Bosch is fast becoming a friend of the Indian auto industry too. Closely involved with a number of prestigious products such as Mahindra’s Scorpio CRDi, Maruti’s diesel Swift and the forthcoming Tata Nano, Bosch will inject a massive amount of capability and technology to Indian-made and engineered products.

In the past, Bosch has concentrated heavily on localising common-rail diesel systems for use in India. The coming years however will see them branch out into low cost common rail systems, direct-injection petrol, anti-lock brakes and hybrid systems.

Diesel: hi-tech, low-cost

Bosch’s diesel journey continues with the company branching out into new areas. The new mantra for Bosch in this sphere is high-end but low-cost. Taking up the challenge of one-and two-cylinder diesel engines, Bosch will provide a low-cost common-rail system for low-priced cars such as the Tata Nano, as well as CRDi systems for single-cylinder auto-rickshaws. While this may not seem like a massive technological challenge, Bosch assures us that these systems are as hard to put together as any.

This system is designed for engines that range between 700 and 820cc, that will be able to put out between 24 and 46bhp, with torque upto 9 kgm possible. The system uses a single crankshaft driven pump to feed two cylinders via a common-rail, providing low cost as well as accurate fuel metering.

On the other hand Bosch will also be helping Indian manufacturers export their diesel cars by meeting emission norms in Europe and even the U.S. Mahindra’s Scorpio-based pick-up is headed to the U.S., and that means it will need to adhere to Tier 2 Bin 5 norms, that are identical to those for petrol engine cars. And Bosch is already working on De Nox systems (catalysts that convert harmful nitrogen oxides to harmless nitrogen) for India. These will not be needed here before 2012, but Bosch may start manufacturing them for export purposes.

Direct-injection petrol

Next-generation small cars will have small capacity, turbo-charged petrol motors mated to hybrid drive systems. This much is pretty clear. What is also certain is that these cars will all use direct gasoline-injection, where petrol is injected directly into the cylinder head of the engine (and not into the intake system). Direct fuel injections allow more control over the systems, meaning better efficiency as well as lower emissions. Bosch’s systems are called DI Motronic and it has already delivered 9,00,000 such systems to car makers like Audi and Volkswagen. Small capacity, direct-injection engines also consume less fuel due to better low engine speed scavenging and uninterrupted airflow into the cylinder, as the fuel and air don’t enter the cylinder together. Another advancement that could be introduced in India are high pressure magnetically-controlled Piezo injectors, that can spray multiple spray patterns via seven individual jets. Though the pressure in the system is a mere 200 bar compared to 1400-1600 bar needed in a direct- injection diesel, this innovative system has a very promising future.

Anti-lock brakes

Only 12 per cent of cars manufactured in India have anti-lock brake systems installed. In comparison 64 per cent of Chinese-manufactured cars have ABS, a basic safety system that has proved its effectiveness in markets around the world. Bosch, who invented the system, is in the process of localising the system and downsizing costs. So in future it could cost less than Rs 10,000 to equip your car with ABS and we wholeheartedly recommend that you do so. Other chassis systems like the more complex ESP, that automatically steers the car out of slides via the brakes, are next on the agenda.

Automatic start-stop

When your cab driver automatically stops the engine at a traffic light, you know he is doing it to save fuel. Mild hybrids that will be launched in the near future will feature a similar system that will automatically stop the engine and start it again as you want to move off. The Mahindra Scorpio will soon be the first Indian vehicle to feature such a system. Manufacturers like Suzuki, however, are also known to be readying their cars for these systems. And with an expected 7-12 percent reduction in our stop-start traffic, this is one system you can expect everyone to want.