Bosch motorcycle division gains autonomy, announces a raft of new electronic gear
Already an established manufacturer of powertrain and safety technology, Bosch has set up an independent supplier business for motorcycles in an effort to cement its position as a global market leader. Spearheading this offensive is the next generation ABS10, a new electric hub motor for eScooters and several electronic safety systems.
Studies suggest that the global motorcycle market is expected to grow to over 160 million units per year by 2021, with 90 percent of these produced in Asia. Bosch has signaled its intention to remain a serious player in this market with the formation of a new independent business unit, the Two-Wheeler and Powersports Division. This unit is based in Yokohama, Japan, and includes branches in the USA, Europe, India and China. It will also serve special-purpose vehicles such as quads, personal watercraft and snowmobiles.
"Bosch technology for more efficiency and safety should be part of any car and in the future the same will go for motorcycles," says Dr. Dirk Hoheisel, member of the Bosch management board. "We are aiming to become a leading supplier in the motorcycle market, too. The portion of the market relevant for Bosch which covers driving safety systems, powertrain technology and infotainment systems will double over the next five years."
To this end, Bosch's powertrain catalogue includes its latest Inertial measurement unit MM5.10, the iconic line of Motronic engine management systems as well as a wide variety of parts like fuel injectors and sensors. As far as the electronic safety systems are concerned, the next-generation ABS10 is planned for production later on 2016, complemented with systems like the Side View Assist and Vehicle Hold Control.
Bosch has also announced the development of infotainment systems that will provide motorcycles with smartphone integration and cloud connectivity.
Bosch's ABS9 is probably the most broadly adopted system in the market, used as original factory equipment in a wide variety of two-wheelers. Its simpler versions can be found in the latest generation of Kymco, Piaggio and SYM scooters, while more elaborate applications offer their services to high-end adventure models such as the KTM 1290 Adventure and the BMW R 1200 GS. The most prominent member of this ABS9 family is of course the ABS Pro that debuted on BMW's HP4 and is now spreading to more and more superbikes, as well as to other market segments.
The new ABS10 is not meant to substitute the 9-series, but rather to complement it. Bosch developed it specifically for bikes with displacement up to 250 cc, as an efficient and affordable system for the emerging markets.
Its core technology will not deviate from the already extremely successful ABS9, but the new system is 30 percent lighter and 45 percent smaller, offered in one (front wheel only) and two-channel (both wheels) versions. Bosch's engineers worked hard to bring costs down and make the ABS10 a financially viable selection for markets where production usually cannot absorb the cost of high-end equipment.
It is expected to hit the market at some (undefined) point during 2016.
The Motorcycle Stability Control system that was announced in 2014 couples with ABS to provide integrated safety in the shape of braking and traction control. It can be further enhanced with the eCBS, an electronic combined braking function that adds another parameter to the equation, as it commands the braking force distribution between the bike's wheels.
The new systems that Bosch has announced for 2016 are the Side View Assist (SVA) and the Vehicle Hold Control (VCH).
The SVA debuted in 2015 as optional equipment for BMW's scooters, C 650 GT and Sport. This warning system monitors the rider's blind corners and is supposed to make the task of lane changing a lot safer. Four ultrasonic sensors installed at the front and rear of the motorcycle scan the neighboring lanes, as the central control unit determines when there's a vehicle coming from behind and promptly issues a warning. In the case of BMW, this warning is a yellow triangle display on the corresponding mirror.
The system is active at speeds ranging from 25 to 80 km/h (15-50 mph), so it is effectively designed for the city, where lane changing is common and critical on a two-wheeler.
The VCH is an added-value function that can be programmed into Bosch's ABS system and is essentially an electrohydraulic parking brake.
When the motorcycle comes to a stop on an incline, the rider just pulls the brake lever (or presses the rear brake foot pedal) and the ABS control unit memorizes the amount of pressure needed to keep the vehicle stationary.
Then there is no longer a need for any brake to be applied, as the system holds the bike at place, no matter how steep the incline or how heavy the motorcycle may be.
The VCH is activated for approximately ten seconds before a visual warning informs the rider that the brake pressure will be gradually relieved. It can of course be overridden automatically by just opening the throttle, or simply be completely deactivated.
The Bosch VCH has already been introduced as standard equipment on the 2016 Ducati Multistrada Enduro.
e-Scooter Hub Motor
Designed as a wheel hub motor, this electric powertrain is offered exclusively in the Chinese market – where approximately 120 million electric scooters are already roaming the streets.
The basic idea behind it is versatility: it can be used in most twist-and-go scooters and mopeds by simply substituting the conventional rear wheel.
It produces just 1.8 kW (2.4 hp) of power, but an electronically controlled boost function should at least make for torquey performance. The eScooter motor is equipped with a controller module that can be tailor-fitted with specific functions. Apart from the standard engine boost function, Bosch offers an example with a system that detects whether the seat is occupied, conforming the electric motor's power output to the situation at hand.
For the time being there is no word on whether this electric motor will become available in other markets as well.