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100 years of Bosch generators

A century has passed since Bosch presented the world’s first voltage-regulating generator for motor vehicles. Though initially designed as nothing more than a power source for the innovation of electric headlights, it ultimately laid the foundations for the electrification of the automobile. The headlights were quickly followed by numerous other electrical consumers, such as the … Continued

A century has passed since Bosch presented the world’s first voltage-regulating generator for motor vehicles. Though initially designed as nothing more than a power source for the innovation of electric headlights, it ultimately laid the foundations for the electrification of the automobile. The headlights were quickly followed by numerous other electrical consumers, such as the electric starter introduced by Bosch in 1914 and the first electric drive for windshield wipers launched by Bosch in 1926. Today, generators provide all the energy a car needs, powering a multitude of electrical systems that make cars cleaner and more efficient, while improving safety and comfort. “Generators are constantly getting smaller, more robust, and more powerful,” says Ulrich Kirschner, president of the Bosch Starter Motors and Generators division, summing up the ongoing development process. While the first generators provided a modest output of just 4 amps, the latest generation of Bosch generators – the Power Density Line for passenger cars – encompasses four output categories ranging from 130 to 250 amps.

Bosch becomes a systems supplier
Up until 1913, Bosch manufactured practically nothing but ignition systems. This focus on a single product was a very risky business strategy. At the same time, the automotive market was developing at a tremendous pace. Vehicles were increasingly being used on a daily basis, and a safe and reliable lighting system had become essential. Robert Bosch spotted this opportunity, and by 1913 the “Bosch automotive lighting system” was ready for series production. The package, which was offered as a retrofit solution, consisted of two headlights, the generator, a battery, and the voltage regulator. The generator had just one job: to supply power to the battery, which would in turn ensure the reliable operation of the first electric headlights. This first lighting system paved the way for Bosch to become a systems provider and the leading automotive supplier. Without the continuous improvements that Bosch made to generator efficiency, today’s generators would need to weigh the same as a small car to provide all the power needed by modern electrical systems with their numerous consumers.

Bosch electrifies power window units and entire vehicles
In addition to its extensive range of generators for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, Bosch offers many other electrical machines. These range from small actuators for seats and power window units to powerful electric motors for hybrid and electric vehicles. Such motors generate electric current while also being used for propulsion. Kirschner is confident: “Electrical powertrains will make cars even more efficient and comfortable in the future as well.”

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