German auto supplier, Bosch, is reporting that the growing number of electric and Internet-powered cars is helping it to gain new customers alongside demand for its software and other services.
Leasing companies, car parks and technology companies are among the markets opening up to Bosch, a representative of the company, Rolf Bulander, said in an interview on the eve of the Frankfurt International Motor Show.
In particular, he said that Bosch’s expertise in sensors is allowing the company to expand beyond its core business of providing components such as spark plugs to combustion engines.
“Thanks to onboard sensors, vehicles can detect a free parking space and cars can report the position and size of the gap,” Bulander said, adding networked vehicles open the door to a parking space management business and other services.
Bosch already expects sales of radar and video sensors — used in driver assistance systems such as emergency braking and sophisticated cruise control — to double this year. Annual sales of automated driving assistance systems will reach 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) by 2016, according to company forecasts.
The emergence of electric cars is also creating new opportunities for Bosch.
“The increased availability of electric powertrains in the market is definitely advantageous and makes it easier for new players to enter the market,” Bulander said.
In 2025, Bosch expects 125 million cars to be produced, of which 8 million will be electric cars, 8.3 million plug-in hybrids and more than 5 million hybrid vehicles.
But battery technology and cost will critical to any entry strategy with the energy density of batteries having to double whilst costs halve.
“If this technological breakthrough is achieved, we will think about manufacturing battery cells,” he said, adding it would take two or three years before a decision was reached.