Robert Bosch GmbH is considering manufacturing lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery cells in-house for electric vehicles (EVs).
This was disclosed by Mathias Pillin, Gasoline Systems Executive Vice President with responsibility for Electrification, in an interview with Nikkei Automotive.
While Volkswagen (VW) AG and other German automakers started to focus on EVs, Bosch is planning to deal with battery cells, which are main components. VW has already announced a plan to invest as much as 50 billion euro by 2025 for procuring batteries.
"We will decide whether we should mass-produce battery cells or not in January 2018," Pillin said.
In 2012, Bosch dissolved the joint venture that it had established with Samsung SDI Co Ltd for production of Li-ion battery cells. And, in 2014, Bosch founded a joint venture for manufacturing Li-ion cells in collaboration with GS Yuasa Corp and other companies. If Bosch decides to manufacture battery cells in-house, it will greatly change the relationship with GS Yuasa, etc.
Many manufacturers are making efforts to develop Li-ion batteries for EVs. Panasonic Corp, LG Chem Ltd and Samsung SDI are promising manufacturers, and many Chinese manufacturers have participated. If Bosch makes that decision, the competition will become even severer.
Moreover, Bosch is considering manufacturing not only Li-ion cells but also all-solid batteries, which are expected to be next-generation batteries. Though the development of all-solid batteries seems to be currently in the study phase, the company is now seriously considering manufacturing them in-house.
However, at Bosch, many people are wary about the in-house production of cells because there have already been strong competitors and it requires a large amount of investment. Recently, Bosch had an internal meeting to discuss the in-house production but did not make a final decision.