Tom Denton has been researching and writing best-selling automotive textbooks for over 25 years. His published work is endorsed by all leading professional organisations and used by automotive students across the world. He has taught college students at all levels, and always helped them achieve the best results. Tom was also a staff tutor and is currently an associate lecturer for the Open University.
His post graduate education in all aspects of technology and education, as well as many years of practical experience, has given him a broad base from which to approach and teach this interesting, yet challenging subject.
As a Fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry, a Member of the Institute of Road Transport Engineers and the Society of Automotive Engineers, he keeps in contact with the latest technologies and innovations across all aspects of this fascinating industry.
As well as publishing over 20 textbooks, Tom has created amazing support materials and eLearning courses.
Volvo Cars is rolling out its first ever over-the-air (OTA) software update on the XC40 Recharge, the company’s first fully electric car. Starting soon, XC40 Recharge drivers in Europe will receive a range of updates, including new features and improvements to the car’s infotainment and propulsion systems. The introduction of OTA updates means that customers no longer have to visit a workshop in order to enjoy the latest software and new, updated features on their electric Volvo.
It also means that a new Volvo is no longer at its finest when it leaves the factory, but keeps improving over time as additional OTA updates are launched. “The benefits of over-the-air updates are obvious,” said Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars. “Yesterday, you still had to drive to the workshop to get the latest updates to your car; today, you simply click OK and your electric Volvo takes care of the rest. It couldn’t be easier.”
Features included in this latest software update are a new base software for the car’s main electronic systems, an increase in charging speed and an improved driving range. There are updates to the Android Automotive operating system that powers the car’s infotainment system, too. The software package also includes updates to a variety of items such as Bluetooth connectivity, climate timers, the car’s digital owner’s manual and the 360-degree camera. The update is available automatically and XC40 Recharge drivers only have to accept the download and installation.
It could be the piece of equipment that does the most important test you will ever carry out! The test that stops you being killed by electric shock. The device is deliberately very simple. The image top left is a test with the leads connected together. The next image is a safe 12V reading but the bottom image shows a dangerous reading (mains voltage with my PV panels working in this case).
Industry Specialist Hayley Pells informs FSB Wales Response to Charging Strategy
A Welsh Government Consultation seeking to gather views on the draft strategy for electric vehicle charging in Wales has been responded to by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) lobbying on behalf of the small business owners of Wales.
The strategy sets out where we are now in Wales providing vehicle electric charging, our changing needs for the decade, and how they can be met.
Dr Llŷr ap Gareth, Head of Policy for Wales FSB, has written the response considering the needs of the many small businesses of Wales, from rural areas to urban environments. Contextualising the needs of the organisations represented by the FSB whilst being mindful of capability of the technology, Llŷr worked with Hayley Pells, newly appointed to the Wales Policy Unit of the FSB to create the document, using her automotive industry insight in addition to the wealth of knowledge the FSB has regarding the needs of small business in Wales.
“There is a risk that small business can be left out of the EV ecosystem, whereas larger organisations may have greater resources to include this new technology into their environments, I am incredibly happy to assist the FSB with their efforts in this, especially as they have been instrumental in the growth of my own small business.” said Hayley Pells. Commenting further on the consultation, Llŷr ap Gareth stated “for businesses to move to electric vehicle stock, it’s important that appropriate infrastructure supports their needs and so it’s likewise important that those needs are heard in this strategy”.
Opening on the 2nd December 2020, the draft Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging strategy for Wales closes for responses on 24th February 2020.
A well-deserved award for my friend and colleague Hayley Pells and her team at Avia Autos.
Avia Autos in Bridgend claims the regional trophy for Wales in The Motor Ombudsman’s inaugural Garage Star Awards after making it on to the shortlist of 24 finalists from over 800 consumer nominations that were submitted for individuals, teams and garages across the UK
The independent garage was chosen by the judging panel for the award in recognition of the high level of support and care shown by the business when assisting customers
The awards have been designed by The Motor Ombudsman to recognise those who have gone beyond the call of duty to help others during the last 12 months
Bridgend, 24 November 2020 Avia Autos in Bridgend is pleased to announce that it has won The Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star Award for Wales. The Garage Star Awards were introduced by the Ombudsman dedicated to the automotive sector for customers to be able to nominate individuals, teams and garages accredited to its Motor Industry Codes of Practice for Service and Repair and Vehicle Sales, that have gone above and beyond to assist them during the past 12 months.
Over 800 nominations were received from consumers for garages up and down the country, which were then whittled down by The Motor Ombudsman according to a strict set of criteria to create a shortlist of just three finalists for each of the eight regions that had been earmarked for the contest. They were then passed to a judging panel, which included members of the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI), to determine the recipients of the winner’s trophies based on the extent to which they had excelled in providing customers with a far superior level of service and work than what would normally be expected.
Competing against other high calibre entries, the Bridgend-based independent garage emerged victorious to claim the top prize for the Welsh region. Avia Autos was unanimously chosen by the judging panel as a clear winner for the regional Garage Star Award for Wales. The trophy was bestowed to the garage belonging to Hayley Pells in recognition of the high level of support and care shown when assisting customers, which includes taking the time to give clear explanations about any issues on their vehicle, and providing practical tips on driving and car care as part of Avia Autos’ free of charge courses.
Hayley Pells, Owner at Avia Autos, said: “We are delighted to have won The Motor Ombudsman’s regional Garage Star Award for Wales, and we are extremely grateful for all of the nominations that we received from our customers during the past few weeks. Supporting motorists beyond the work that we do, with free tips and classes, has always been a core focus. With cars being relatively complex machines, it’s important to provide vehicle owners with a good understanding of any repairs that have been undertaken and why, and any preventative action that they are able to take themselves to help avoid future mechanical issues. The trophy will take pride of place in our reception area to remind our staff that their continued hard work and dedication has been publicly recognised with what is a very prestigious award.”
Bill Fennell, Chief Ombudsman and Managing Director of The Motor Ombudsman, added: “We would like to congratulate Avia Autos on their fantastic achievement. This year’s awards were a closely fought contest, but it was this independent garage that clearly stood out from the other shortlisted entries that were put forward for the Welsh regional trophy. Their commitment to going above and beyond by supporting the local motorists with educational initiatives really shone through in the customer’s submission, and this business was therefore deemed a worthy regional winner by all of the judges on the panel.”
The importance of Electric Vehicles is clearly evident as part of the drive towards better use of clean and renewable energy and the reduction of harmful emissions and particulates. EV is now discussed so widely, and the investment in increasing EV deployment so great, that every workshop is increasingly aware of the need to handle EVs. Pico is working with our partners and customers to ensure that workshops can be as safe, efficient and effective working with EV as they are with Internal Combustion Engines (ICE).
This PicoScope 4425A kit provides comprehensive diagnostics capability for all types of EV (BEV, MHEV, PHEV, Fuel-cell), and ICE (Diesel, Gasoline, LPG). In combination with the extensive range of Pico accessories, the 4425A covers engines/motors, sensors, actuators, communications buses, Noise Vibration & Harshness, and all basic measurements in an easy-to-use system that includes extensive guidance for technicians. The PicoScope 4425A EV Kit contains all the test equipment required to ensure it is safe to work on an EV, and to investigate any faults that are likely to cause safety issues.
The wide range of EV systems covered includes:
DC HV energy system or the AC motor/generator drive system
Charging behaviour and 12V/HV battery current split issues
CP/PP communications between charging system and vehicle
3-phase current measurements to check winding balance under load
All 12V and 48V systems
Based on the unique PicoBNC+ connection system, the PicoScope 4425A will continue to be enhanced and expanded with ongoing investment by Pico in new technologies to ensure that PicoScope users will always have the ability to satisfy their customers.
Together with PicoScope 7 software, the system delivers ease of use for those less experienced and offers advanced features when needed. Continued benefits include free software updates and the use of large screen displays in workshops, making measurements clearly visible at all times. PicoScope is an investment that pays back quickly and generates profits for your workshop long after initial purchase.
In addition to the new EV capability, the 4425A still offers the benefits so appreciated by technicians: ConnectDetect™ , ±200 V voltage input range, floating input system, high sample rate (up to 400 MS/s), high vertical resolution (12-bit to 16-bit enhanced), SuperSpeed USB 3.0 interface, 20 MHz bandwidth, advanced triggers, advanced filtering, large buffer memory (250 million samples), maths channels, measurement and phase rulers, Pico waveform library, more than 150 guided tests, and the amazing free Pico software upgrades.
PicoScope is used and trusted by more authorised and independent repairers than any other measurement system because it gives them the capability, confidence and support to quickly find and prove the fix for most vehicle faults. PicoScope data can be shared across the network, and the system used for electrical, pressure, hydraulic, NVH (Noise, Vibration & Harshness), offering comprehensive coverage on vehicles of every type: trucks, buses, motorcycles, agricultural and construction equipment, off-highway and industrial systems.
The PicoScope 4425A sets a new standard in diagnostic oscilloscopes for vehicle and equipment technicians, offering unrivalled performance and usability focused on making your diagnostics faster and more accurate than ever before. When you buy a PicoScope you benefit from more than 25 years investment in the world’s best diagnostic oscilloscopes. Join us! The PicoScope 4425A/4225A oscilloscopes and kits are available now from our distributors worldwide and directly from www.picoauto.com
This is information supplied by Bosch, and as always it includes some really useful information. My personal view is that hydrogen is the future for heavy vehicles but not necesarily for cars – see what you think.
Electromobility is picking up more and more speed. It is an important element in reducing CO2 emissions from traffic. But how economical is it to operate heavy-duty trucks with 40-ton payloads over long distances using only battery-electric power? Given the battery weight, long charging times, and limited range of today’s technology, electric powertrains aren’t the first choice for heavy trucks. Nevertheless, even 40-ton trucks will be able to travel more than a thousand kilometres in all-electric mode in the near future. The key to this is the Bosch fuel-cell powertrain. When powered with hydrogen produced using renewable energy, this powertrain enables the climate-neutral transportation of goods and commodities. Bosch is taking the first step in this direction by developing the fuel-cell powertrain primarily with a focus on trucks, and the company plans to start production in 2022–2023. Once they have become established in trucks, Bosch fuel-cell powertrains will then increasingly find their way into passenger cars – rightly making them an integral part of tomorrow’s powertrain portfolio.
Seven reasons why fuel cells and hydrogen are crucial building blocks of tomorrow’s mobility:
1) Climate neutrality
In a fuel cell, hydrogen (H2) reacts with oxygen (O2) from the ambient air. The energy this reaction releases is converted into electricity, which is used for driving. Heat and pure water (H2O) are other products of the reaction. H2 is obtained using electrolysis, in which water is separated into hydrogen and oxygen with the aid of electricity. Generating this electricity from renewables makes the fuel-cell powertrain completely climate-neutral. Especially for large, heavy vehicles, fuel cells have a better carbon footprint than exclusively battery-electric powertrains if the CO2 emissions for production, operation, and disposal are added together. All that fuel-cell vehicles need in addition to their hydrogen tank is a much smaller battery for intermediate buffer storage. This greatly reduces their carbon footprint in production. “The advantages of the fuel cell really come into play in those areas where battery-electric powertrains don’t shine,” explains Dr. Uwe Gackstatter, president of the Bosch Powertrain Solutions division. “This means there’s no competition between fuel cells and batteries; instead, they complement each other perfectly.”
2) Potential applications
Hydrogen has a high energy density. One kilogram of hydrogen contains as much energy as 3.3 litres of diesel. To travel 100 kilometres, a passenger car needs only about one kilogram; a 40-ton truck needs a good seven kilograms. As with diesel or gasoline, it takes just a few minutes to fill an empty H 2 tank and continue the journey. “Fuel cells are the first choice for transporting larger loads for many kilometres every day,” Gackstatter says, summarizing the advantages. In the EU-funded H2Haul project, Bosch is currently working with other companies to build a small fleet of fuel-cell trucks and put them on the road. In addition to mobile applications, Bosch is developing fuel-cell stacks for stationary applications with solid-oxide fuel-cell (SOFC) technology. One intended use for them is as small, distributed power stations in cities, data canters, and charge points for electric vehicles. If the Paris climate action targets are to be met, in the future hydrogen will need to power not only cars and commercial vehicles, but also trains, aircraft, and ships. The energy and steel industries are also planning to make use of hydrogen.
One of the decisive factors for a powertrain’s eco-friendliness and profitability is its efficiency. This is around a quarter higher for fuel-cell vehicles than for vehicles with combustion engines. Employing recuperative braking further increases efficiency. Battery-electric vehicles, which can store electricity directly in the vehicle and use it for propulsion, are even more effective. However, since energy production and energy demand do not always coincide in time and location, electricity from wind and solar plants often remains unused because it cannot find a consumer and cannot be stored. This is where hydrogen comes into its own. The surplus electricity can be used to produce it in a decentralized way, ready for flexible storage and transportation.
The cost of green hydrogen will come down considerably when production capacities are expanded, and the price of electricity generated from renewables declines. The Hydrogen Council, an association of over 90 international companies, expects costs for many hydrogen applications to fall by half in the next ten years – making them competitive with other technologies. Bosch is currently working with the startup Powercell to develop the stack, the core of the fuel cell, and make it market-ready, with manufacturing to follow. The goal is a high-performance solution that can be manufactured at low cost. “In the medium term, using a vehicle with a fuel cell won’t be more expensive than using one with a conventional powertrain,” Gackstatter says.
Today’s network of hydrogen filling stations doesn’t offer complete coverage, but the roughly 180 hydrogen filling stations in Europe are already sufficient for some important transport routes. Companies in many countries are cooperating to push ahead with the expansion, often supported by state subsidies. In Germany, too, politicians have recognized the important role of hydrogen in decarbonizing the economy and have anchored it in the National Hydrogen Strategy. For example, the H 2 Mobility joint venture will have built around 100 publicly accessible filling stations in Germany by the end of 2020, while the EU-funded H2Haul project is working not only on trucks but also on the filling stations required on its planned routes. Japan, China, and South Korea also have comprehensive support programs.
The use of gaseous hydrogen in vehicles is safe and no more hazardous than other automotive fuels or batteries. Hydrogen tanks do not pose an increased risk of explosion. It is true that H 2 burns in combination with oxygen and that a mixture of the two beyond a certain ratio is explosive. But hydrogen is about 14 times lighter than air and therefore extremely volatile. For example, any H 2 that escapes from a vehicle tank will rise faster than it can react with the ambient oxygen. In a fire test conducted on a fuel-cell car by U.S. researchers in 2003, there was a flash fire, but it quickly went out again. The vehicle remained largely undamaged.
Hydrogen production is a proven and technologically straightforward process. This means it can be ramped up quickly to meet higher demand. In addition, fuel cells have now reached the necessary technological maturity for their commercialization and widespread use. According to the Hydrogen Council, the hydrogen economy can become competitive in the next ten years, provided there is sufficient investment and political will. “The time for entry into the hydrogen economy is now,” Gackstatter says.
Pedestrians obscured from view by vehicles, cyclists passing in front of the car, buses that suddenly approach: negotiating city traffic can quickly become a difficult task. Of all things, it could be streetlights that make urban traffic safer and provide automated vehicles with an overview of the traffic situation. This was the subject of the MEC-View research project. The project required streetlights to be fitted with video and lidar sensors, which then used advanced cellular technology to provide vehicles with critical information in real time, allowing them to detect obstacles – whether other cars, bicycles, or pedestrians – quickly and reliably. After more than three years of development, the project is now ready to present its findings. Partners in the project, which received 5.5 million euros in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), were Bosch, the consortium leader, together with Mercedes-Benz, Nokia, Osram, TomTom, IT Designers, and the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Ulm. The project’s associated partner was the city of Ulm, which for the past three years has been the testing ground for the sensors on the streetlights and the connectivity technology. The insights gained in the project will now be used to further develop automotive technology, automated driving, and cellular technology. In addition, the infrastructure the project has built up will now be available for further research projects to use.
Bird’s-eye beats worm’s eye
Reaching up to six meters in height, streetlights tower above road traffic. They have a precise bird’s eye view of developments at busy intersections, say – and it is knowledge like this that automated vehicles will need in the future. While a vehicle’s sensor systems – cameras, radar, and lidar sensors – give it precise 360-degree vision, the view from the ground – from the vehicle alone – is not always sufficient for it to see a pedestrian currently obscured by a truck, a vehicle emerging from a concealed entrance, or a cyclist approaching from behind and changing lanes quickly. “Because the vehicle itself cannot see around corners or through walls, we use the streetlight sensors to extend the vehicle sensors’ field of view,” says Dr. Rüdiger Walter Henn, who heads the MEC-View project at the consortium leader Bosch. The project partners have developed the corresponding hardware and software for this purpose; the system processes the images and signals from the infrastructure sensors, combines them with high-resolution digital maps (HD maps), and transmits them to the vehicle over the air. There, the data merges with the vehicle’s own sensor information to create an accurate picture of the situation, including all relevant road users.
Wireless data transmission
Advanced cellular technology makes extremely low-latency transmission of sensor information possible. While the MEC-View project used LTE mobile communications technology with an optimized configuration for this purpose, in the new 5G communications standard, real-time data transmission is a basic function. The core task of latency-optimized mobile communications is not only the virtually instantaneous wireless transmission of data, but also the processing of that data as close to the source as possible. This task is performed by special computers, known as mobile edge computing servers (or MEC servers for short), which are integrated directly into the cellular network. They combine the streetlight sensor data with data from a vehicle’s surround sensors and highly accurate digital maps. From this, they generate a model of the surroundings that includes all available information about the current traffic situation, and make this model available to vehicles over the air. In the future, facilities such as the city traffic control centers could be equipped with such servers, so that they can share the data with all vehicles, regardless of manufacturer, and other road users.
Seamlessly merging with trafic
In Ulm, the project partners have been testing the interaction of automated vehicle prototypes and infrastructure sensors in real traffic conditions since 2018. One intersection in the Lehr district of Ulm is notorious for its lack of good all-round visibility. The streetlights there were equipped with sensors to help automated vehicles negotiate the intersection. Vehicles approaching the difficult intersection from a side road have to merge onto the main road. Thanks to the newly developed technology, the automated prototype now recognizes road users early on and can adapt its driving strategy accordingly. As a result, the vehicle targets gaps in the traffic on the main road and merges seamlessly, without stopping. Such a development will make urban traffic not only safer, but also more fluid. The infrastructure built up during the project will remain in Ulm, where it will be available for use by subsequent research projects.
Project website with the findings: www.mec-view.de
Mercedes-AMG is implementing electric exhaust gas turbochargers in its next vehicle generation. The turbocharger features an electronically controlled electric motor which drives the compressor wheel before the wheel takes over the exhaust gas flow. Electric exhaust gas turbocharger from Mercedes-AMG
The electric exhaust gas turbocharger was developed in partnership with Garrett Motion. The technology comes from Formula 1 and is intended to combine the benefits of a small turbocharger with fast response times that achieves relatively low peak performance and of a large turbocharger with high peak performance but delayed responses.
A slim electric motor measuring around 4 cm is integrated directly on the charger shaft between the turbine wheel on the exhaust side and the compressor wheel on the fresh-air side. The electronically controlled electric motor drives the compressor wheel before the wheel takes over the exhaust gas flow, which significantly improves responsiveness even at idle speeds and across the entire engine-speed range. The turbocharger is powered by a 48-volt on-board electrical system and can achieve speeds of up to 170,000 rpm, which enables a very high air flow rate. Along with the electric motor and power electronics, the turbocharger is connected to the combustion engine’s cooling circuit.
Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric available to order now amid surging interest in battery-powered cars
The first of five electric Volvo cars to be launched in the next five years
Capable of more than 249 miles on a single charge, versus average UK daily drive distance of 30 miles
Fast-charging potential: 80% of capacity in 40 minutes
Will deliver running-cost savings and tax benefits typical of electric cars
First Volvo to include pioneering Google Android-powered infotainment system
No internal combustion engine means extra storage space
One of the safest cars on the road
Launch expands Volvo’s already market-leading range of plug-in vehicles
XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 available from £53,155
UK deliveries anticipated from early 2021
The Volvo XC40 Recharge Pure Electric – Volvo’s first all-electric car – is now available for UK customers to order.
The first of five fully electric cars to be launched by the Swedish company over the next five years, the XC40 Recharge Pure Electric P8 is capable of a travelling more than 249 miles on a single charge, and can be charged to 80% of its battery capacity in as little as 40 minutes using a fast charger. Being an electric car, it will deliver significant savings to owners in running costs, as well as tax benefits.
Inside, the car benefits from the company’s brand-new infotainment system powered by Google Android, as well as taking the XC40’s already renowned use of interior space even further.
Kristian Elvefors, Volvo Car UK’s Managing Director, said: “For Volvo Cars, the future is electric. The battery-powered XC40 spearheads our ambitious sustainability strategy, while bringing the huge benefits of electric driving – and more – to an already award-winning package.”
A milestone in one of the automotive industry’s boldest electrification strategies
Volvo’s first entrant into the compact premium SUV segment when it was launched in 2018, the XC40 has seen unprecedented success, winning a host of prestigious awards – including European Car of the Year in 2018 – and quickly becoming the firm’s best-selling model in the UK. The Recharge Pure Electric variant comes at the perfect time, with almost three quarters of consumers considering an all-electric car for their next purchase1.
The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric marks a major milestone in Volvo Cars’ electrification strategy, which is one of the boldest from any traditional car maker. As part of a long-term ambition to be climate-neutral by 2040, the company aims to reduce tailpipe emissions by 50% per car, and for half of all new vehicles it sells globally to be pure electric, by 2025.
The all-electric XC40 also expands Volvo’s already comprehensive range of plug-in vehicles, now sold under the Recharge brand, with customers already able to purchase a plug-in hybrid version of every model in the Volvo range.
While the recently launched plug-in hybrid XC40 is ideal for those making the transition to electric driving – its 28-mile electric range is backed up by a petrol engine for greater distances – the Pure Electric is the perfect car for those ready to commit to all-electric motoring. The average distance driven each day by UK motorists is 30 miles2, so its 249-plus-mile range more than covers most people’s daily requirements – especially if home or workplace charging is installed meaning a full charge at the start of each journey.
The XC40 P8’s long range does not come at the expense of performance, with its twin electric motors producing 408hp to deliver a 0-62mph time of only 4.9 seconds.
Interior design: making clever even cleverer
While the XC40 already follows the principle of doing more with less, the Recharge Pure Electric version takes this even further. The lack of an internal combustion engine frees up space for an additional 30-litre storage compartment or ‘frunk’ under the front bonnet, while the placement of the batteries under the centre of the car means space is not compromised elsewhere.
As with any other XC40, the battery-powered version comes equipped with clever interior touches such as a removable waste bin, a fold-out hook in the glove compartment for bags, and a useful boot divider complete with hooks for keeping shopping bags separate and upright. A pair of sizeable front door bins come courtesy of the traditionally door-housed speakers being moved to the base of the windscreen.
The interior of the battery-powered XC40 also carries over the strong focus on sustainability from other variants, with the door linings and carpets made from 97% recycled plastic bottles.
The all-electric XC40 marks the debut of Volvo Cars’ brand-new Android-powered infotainment system, which gives customers unprecedented personalisation increased intuitiveness and new embedded Google technologies and services.
Total integration of Android Automotive OS, Google’s open-source Android platform, means services such as Google Maps, Google Assistant and other automotive apps will be built in.
For the first time on a Volvo car, software and operating system updates will be available over the air, meaning an XC40 Recharge Pure Electric will improve over its lifetime rather than being at its peak on leaving the factory.
One of the safest cars on the road
In spite of the challenges presented by the lack of an internal combustion engine, the electric XC40 is one of the safest cars on the market. Volvo Cars’ safety engineers have totally redeveloped the frontal crash structure, while introducing a new and unique safety structure for the passengers and battery – helping to keep occupants as safe as they are in any other Volvo.
The fully electric XC40 SUV – Volvo’s first electric car and one of the safest on the road
The XC40 Recharge Pure Electric is also the first Volvo to feature a new version of Pilot Assist, the driver-assistance technology that deploys steering, acceleration and braking support to help take the strain during long motorway journeys and sitting in traffic. The system now uses Google Maps for information such as speed limits and curves in the road to improve its functionality.
A new Emergency Stop Assist function is now included, meaning that if the driver is not holding the steering wheel while Pilot Assist is activated, the driver will be warned in different stages until the vehicle is brought to a safe stop.
In the EU alone, the electronic stability program has saved some 15,000 lives.
Worldwide, 82 percent of all new passenger cars feature the anti-skid system.
Harald Kroeger: “The development of ESP® was a milestone on the path to our ‘vision zero’ of no more road deaths.”
Stuttgart, Germany – A wet road and a sudden evasive maneuver: there was a time when such a situation would frequently have ended in a ditch or against a crash barrier, and not rarely with fatalities or severe injuries. Almost 25 years ago to the day, a remedy was finally provided in the shape of a pioneering invention – the ESP® electronic stability program that Bosch and Daimler-Benz first launched in S-class vehicles in 1995. Since then, ESP® has been keeping vehicles safely on track, also in critical situations. Bosch accident researchers estimate that in the EU alone, the anti-skid system has saved some 15,000 lives over the past 25 years, as well as preventing just under half a million accidents involving personal injury. Together with the seatbelt and airbag, ESP® is one of the most important life-savers in a vehicle. “The development of the electronic stability program was a milestone on the path to our ‘vision zero’ of no more road deaths,” says the Bosch board of management member Harald Kroeger. “ESP® is an outstanding example of what we mean by ‘Invented for life.” The innovation may be from 1995, but there is nothing dated about it: Bosch has continuously improved its anti-skid system, and produced more than 250 million ESP® systems to date. Modern cars are inconceivable without this electronic guardian angel. Worldwide, 82 percent of all new vehicles are equipped with ESP®. In 2017, this figure was 64 percent.
Testing ESP® on the Schwieberdingen test route in 1984 Testing ESP® on the Schwieberdingen test route in 1995 25 years of Bosch ESP®: no more skidding 25 years of Bosch ESP®: no more skidding Testing ESP® in Sweden in 1995 25 years of Bosch ESP®
Testing ESP® on the Schwieberdingen test route in 1984
“ The development of the electronic stability program was a milestone on the path to our ‘vision zero’ of no more road deaths. ”
Bosch board of management member Harald Kroeger
ESP® can prevent up to 80 percent of all skidding accidents
Especially when roads are wet or icy, when evading unexpected obstacles such as animals on the road, and also when driving into a bend too fast, the electronic stability program intervenes. With ESP® on board, up to 80 percent of all skidding accidents can be prevented. It combines the functions of the ABS antilock braking system and the TCS traction control system, but can do considerably more. It also detects vehicle skidding movements, and actively counteracts them.
The anti-skid system uses information about vehicle dynamics to detect whether the car is heading in the direction the driver is steering. If there is a discrepancy between these two factors, ESP® intervenes. This may sound simple, but is in fact a complex process. Smart sensors help compare steering angle and vehicle trajectory 25 times a second. If the two diverge, ESP® reduces engine torque and brakes individual wheels. In this way, the system helps the driver prevent the vehicle from breaking away or skidding – effectively nipping many accidents in the bud.
Breakthrough following the elk test
The story behind this achievement is a long one. It started in the 1980s with initially independent efforts by Bosch and Daimler-Benz to achieve more vehicle stability. From 1992 until market launch, experts from the two companies worked together in a project unit. The legendary elk test of 1997 helped the system achieve a breakthrough: during tests for a Swedish automotive magazine, a Mercedes Benz A-class tipped over when making an abrupt evasive maneuver. Mercedes-Benz responded by making ESP® standard equipment. Since that time, more and more vehicles of many different automakers have adopted the anti-skid system.
Fewer accidents, fewer injuries, fewer fatalities – legislators have also recognized the benefits of ESP® and made it a mandatory feature of vehicles in many parts of the world. In the EU, the mandating process was gradual. From November 2011, it was initially mandatory for new passenger-car and commercial-vehicle types, and from November 1, 2014, for all newly registered passenger cars and commercial vehicles. And also in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ecuador, Israel, Japan, Malysia, New Zealand, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States, the anti-skid system is either legally mandated or a self-imposed commitment. Experience from Europe shows that if the proportion of vehicles featuring the system rises, accident numbers fall.
“ ESP® has taken road safety to a new level. ”
Bosch board of management member Harald Kroeger
Basis for automated driving
“ESP® has taken road safety to a new level,” Kroeger says. And it has done so across a diverse range of vehicle types. Bosch offers customized ESP® systems for all powertrain types, from combustion engines to electric motors, and for vehicles of all kinds, from micro cars to commercial vehicles. Even for motorized two-wheelers, the company has developed a kind of ESP®. The MSC motorcycle stability control that Bosch launched in 2013 ensures the best possible stability in all riding situations, and is a further pioneering road-safety achievement.
At the same time, ESP® is the basic technology for many driver assistance systems, as well as for the automated driving with which Bosch is pursuing its vision zero. “Whether new or tried and tested, Bosch technologies alert and support drivers in critical situations. And increasingly, they are in a position to assume monotonous and fatiguing tasks. This gives us an opportunity to further reduce the number of accidents and road deaths,” Kroeger says. Whether with or without a driver at the wheel, Bosch will be nipping accidents in the bud in the future as well.