Germany-based Bosch, which has its North American headquarters in Farmington Hills, has announced it achieved sales growth of 5 percent in 2021 to $13.5 billion on the continent despite continued global economic challenges.
All four of Bosch’s business sectors reported sales increases in North America in 2021 from a year earlier. The mobility solutions business sector was in line with overall results at a 5 percent increase as it delivered $7.9 billon in sales.
Consumer goods increased sales to nearly $3.5 billion, representing nearly a nearly 20 percent increase in 2021. Industrial technology as well as energy and building technology also both increased sales nearly 20 percent, posting just more than $1 billion in sales in each respective sector.
“While we face headwinds related to the COVID-19 pandemic, supply chain disruption, raw materials cost increases, and more, our team in North America continues to rise to meet those challenges and support growth and recovery of the business here in the region,” says Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America.
In 2022, Bosch will invest $664 million in capital expenditures across its portfolio in North America. This includes $420 million specifically for mobility solutions. At the core of the company’s investments in the region are a continued its focus on climate-neutral technology and the hydrogen economy.
‘“We are all in for the hydrogen economy,” Mansuetti says. “Our hydrogen portfolio is expansive across multiple domains in a way no other company can match. This cross-domain knowledge will enable Bosch to lead when it comes to driving hydrogen as a climate-neutral solution. And we are committed to local production of hydrogen solutions in the North American region in the coming years.”
This includes investments in the mobile hydrogen fuel cell, where the company will produce both the fuel cell stack as well as balance of plant components to support customers. Globally, Bosch has once again increased its capital expenditure for mobile fuel cells, to more than $1 billion between 2021 and 2024.
In the interest of effective climate action, Bosch also is entering the components business for hydrogen electrolysis. The company announced plans to invest nearly $600 million in this new area of business by the end of the decade — half of it by the time of market launch, which is planned for 2025.
Bosch is branching out into the development of components for electrolyzers, which use electrolysis to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. Ideally, the electricity for this purpose is generated from renewable sources such as wind or photovoltaic power, in which case the result is known as “green hydrogen.” Bosch is supplying the stack — the core of the hydrogen electrolysis system — which combines with power electronics, sensors, and a control unit to create a smart module.
In the United States, Bosch says it is evaluating where its electrolyzer technology can help to bring clean hydrogen to the market. Of particular interest are opportunities created by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) $9.5 billion Clean Hydrogen Initiative, which is based on the bi-partisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Recently announced DOE Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs provide a potential opportunity to accelerate hydrogen availability in the U.S.
The decentralized fuel cell also is a strategic focus area for Bosch. The Bosch Solid Oxide Fuel Cell (SOFC) energy supply system can use both renewable fuels (hydrogen from wind or sun, for example) and conventional fuels (biomethane or natural gas) to generate electricity and heat. The technology can be used in residential urban areas, commercial buildings, industrial plants, and data centers. It achieves an overall efficiency of over 85 percent at the beginning of life.
In addition to the mobile fuel cell, Bosch says it continues to advance electrification with solutions for battery-electric vehicles. The company says it continues to ramp toward electrification production at its Charleston, S.C., facility.
“Here in the North American region and the United States in particular, our customers are aggressively growing their electrification offerings,” says Paul Thomas, executive vice president of mobility solutions in the Americas for Bosch. “At Bosch we are helping our customers achieve their electromobility goals. No other supplier offers as many electromobility options as Bosch does.”
A key technical task is to keep the powertrain, including the battery, at the right temperature and to provide the necessary climate comfort in the passenger compartment. Intelligent thermal management alone can increase the electric driving range by 25 percent. To this end, Bosch has developed a pre-integrated solution: the flexible thermal unit, or FTU. With the FTU, Bosch is tapping into a market that it expects will reach a volume of more than $4 billion globally by the end of the decade.
Beyond the powertrain, Bosch is working to make electrification a reality with solutions for electric vehicles in the areas of steering and braking.
“Our portfolio is uniquely positioned to support the needs of the U.S. market when it comes to braking and steering electric trucks and SUVS,” Thomas said.
Across its entire business, Bosch reports it is reaping the benefits of connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT). As of the beginning of 2022, the company announced all its electronics product classes were connectable.
“Connectivity enables us to deliver in new ways on our ‘Invented for life’ promise,” Mansuetti says. “We are demonstrating in many different areas the value of connectivity to our customers through new data-driven updates and development.”
In the area of mobility, Bosch’s entire braking portfolio is now IoT-ready. This enables both data-driven development for automakers and Bosch as well as data-driven service enablement for fleet owners and end consumers. Through continuous development enabled by data, specifications can be further defined and virtual updates sent to the system. For fleet owners and consumers, this benefit unlocks the ability to monitor component health information across braking systems, tires, and other chassis components.
In other Bosch developments during 2021:
- The Dremel brand, part of the Bosch Power Tools portfolio, unveiled the world’s first brushless smart rotary tool in late 2021.
- The Bosch Thermotechnology business introduced IDS Premium Connected, an IoT advancement in air-source heat pumps that enables remote monitoring where contractors and homeowners can monitor data for a heat pump even without a communicating thermostat.
- Nearly 200,000 students and more than 4,000 teachers across North America were positively impacted by the Bosch Community Fund.
- Headcount was up slightly to nearly 35,500 associates across the North American region. In the United States alone, the company aims to hire more than 500 software engineers in 2022 as it continues to win new business and develop new business models driven by software.
In 2022, Bosch expects sales to grow more than 6 percent, and to achieve an EBIT margin in the range of 3 to 4 percent despite the likelihood of considerable burdens, especially due to rising costs for energy, raw materials, and logistics.