Bosch and the dual hydrogen option for transport

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The transport sector will grow: goods moved by 2030 will increase by 40% and will even triple by 2050. Without logistics, the objectives of limiting emissions are difficult to achieve. Except that, unlike what politics seems to imagine, the electric solution cannot be the only one. “We must be able to combine growth with sustainability”, summed up Markus Heyn, number one of the Mobility Solutions division of Bosch, managed in Italy by the 49-year-old Lombard Camillo Mazza, at the IAA in Hanover (the biennial exhibition of commercial vehicles). he also “cut his teeth” in Stuttgart, at the headquarters of the German multinational. The current picture is worrying: a third of the journeys of industrial vehicles are empty and even 400,000 drivers are missing. Logistics risks and with it the distribution network, both affected by the rise in fuel prices: that of methane has forced several operators who had invested in this more ecological option to stop their vehicles, whose operating costs are practically out of market. Then there are the 8 billion in damages accounted for each year by insurance companies for theft of vehicles and goods.

Bosch tries to respond to the various “emergencies” and Heyn stresses that “autonomous driving is gaining ground also due to the current shortage of drivers”: it has been working for some time to support the “turning point” with its own technologies, many already tested on Street. The Euro7 engines, also implemented with Bosch devices, will contribute to limiting the emissions of diesel engines, which will remain indispensable for a long time, even if by 2035 almost half of the volumes of the new vehicles will be electric. Over short distances, battery-powered propulsion is already a reality, but the last mile and journeys of up to a couple of hundred kilometers per day are only part of the logistics. The problem remains the long distances, for which the rail is still not enough.

The hydrogen option is twofold: as a fuel cell system and as a fuel for conventional, naturally adapted engines. Both solutions share the same problem: the infrastructure for refueling. According to Heyn, already in 2030 the costs of the fuel-cell will be comparable to those of diesel, thus making it an economically accessible and environmentally and financially sustainable alternative. Mercedes, which collaborates with Bosch, presented the GenH2 Truck accredited with over a thousand kilometers of autonomy (80 liters of hydrogen distributed in two tanks) at the IAA. And Volvo Trucks has anticipated a series of real-world tests with several Northern European customers for its fuel cell vehicles with similar mileage by 2025. The system emits water vapor.

Bosch is also involved with Iveco, which in turn has an agreement with Hyundai as well as with Nikola’s Americans, on hydrogen. The Italian brand exhibited in Hanover the electric fuel cell eDaily (FCEV) with 350 km of autonomy thanks to six tanks for a total of 12 liters of hydrogen and 3 tons of payload. Together with the German ABT, the Stuttgart multinational has instead converted two electric Crafters that have already obtained road approval into fuel-cells. Bosch plans to commercialize 500 fuel cell systems by the end of the year and 40,000 by 2025. The growth is exponential.

As a guarantee for vehicles and goods, Bosch has launched Secure Truck Parking to identify and book guarded stalls: in Germany it has purchased its own spaces, while in Italy it is currently negotiating with various operators for the construction of controlled areas at Brenner and in the Brescia areas. and Turin. The service should then be gradually extended.

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