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Two centennials at Bosch: 100 years of glow plugs and 100 years of batteries

Pioneering Bosch developments from the infancy of the automobile

For Bosch, this year marks not just one, but two anniversaries of products that have a long and successful history. Robert Bosch was quick to realize that diesel engines’ excellent efficiency made them well suitable for use in motor vehicles. The problem was that these engines had great difficulty with cold starts. The Bosch glow plug, which went into production in 1922, provided the solution by moving the pre-warming of the engine to the inside of the combustion chamber. It was also one hundred years ago that Bosch started producing starter batteries in the Stuttgart suburb of Feuerbach – initially for motorcycles and then, from 1927, for passenger cars.

Decades of expertise and continuous improvement

For 100 years now, glow plugs and starter batteries have belonged to those products that Bosch continuously improves and – generally in collaboration with automakers – modifies. Bosch’s first single-pole glow plug still featured a mica insulator with an open wire filament. Today, Duraterm technology and ceramic heating technology with short pre-heating and long post-heating phases ensure fuel efficiency and a long service life. With the Bosch DuraSpeed glow plug, featuring a ceramic heating element, a cold start now takes less than two seconds. Giving the diesel engine time to warm up is now definitely a thing of the past. In addition, modern glow plugs play a role in cleaning the particle filter. The heat from the plugs helps with particulate filter regeneration. Diesel particle filters collect any soot contained in the exhaust. To prevent the filter clogging up, the soot that has been collected has to be periodically burned.

Broad portfolio of starter batteries for vehicles of all kinds

When it comes to starter batteries as well, Bosch has 100 years of experience and expertise, as these historical milestones show: In the 1960s, Bosch marketed batteries with plastic housing and a charge indicator. Maintenance free batteries for passenger cars followed in the 1980s. Starting in the 1990s, silver-alloy grids in Bosch starter batteries ensured a long service life and high starting power. Since 2000, the Bosch portfolio has been supplemented by high-performance AGM starter batteries for modern passenger cars featuring start-stop systems and many electrical consumers. The battery range is also being continuously improved. Apart from passenger-car batteries, it also includes starter batteries for commercial vehicles, motorized two-wheelers, and recreational vehicles, such as motor homes and camper vans.

For classic cars, Bosch Classic has reissued 1950s-style 6-volt and 12-volt batteries as part of a reengineering project. Bosch Classic produces the battery in a historical design. On the inside, however, it is equipped with modern technology, such as backfire protection integrated in the cover and calcium-technology plates. Furthermore, it is manufactured in accordance with the latest environmental and quality standards. This means that these batteries offer nearly the same safety standards and long service life as modern starter batteries.

In 2016, Bosch garnered Automechanika Frankfurt’s Innovation Award for its lithium-ion two-wheeler battery. 2019 saw the debut of the Bosch TA AGM, a commercial-vehicle battery for high energy requirements in the demanding long-distance haulage market. For the original equipment service, moreover, Bosch has been developing and manufacturing 48-volt batteries for mild-hybrid vehicles since the end of 2019. The 48-volt battery stores braking energy and supports the combustion engine during acceleration. This reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.


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