The World Health Organization estimated that 4.2 million people die yearly due to ambient (outdoor) air pollution. Another 3.8 million deaths are a result of household exposure to smoke from dirty cookstoves and fuels.
The statistic that hits home is that 9 out of 10 people worldwide breathe air containing high levels of pollutants. These fine particles can penetrate deep into the lungs and cardiovascular systems. They can also lead to stroke, heart diseases, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and respiratory infections.
It is clear that urbanization has a cost. And if the UN’s projections are correct, then by 2030 there will be at least five billion city dwellers globally. In Southeast Asia alone, some 90 million people will be moving into cities.
The population growth in cities will inevitably make air pollution worse. Some estimates show that urban traffic may triple between now and 2050, raising congestion, accident, and pollution levels.
Stress-free, Accident-free and Emission-free
Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, wants to make a difference. It outlined its vision for urban mobility solutions to improve air quality in cities.
“Bosch envisions urban mobility to be stress-free, accident-free, and emission-free. This vision becomes achievable with a sustainable ecosystem that integrates alternative transport solutions and optimizes motorized vehicles to make them safer, more comfortable, and more efficient,” said Martin Hayes, president of Bosch in Southeast Asia.
Bosch's advancements in electrical powertrain components and braking technology underscore this vision.
In a motor vehicle, the powertrain comprises the main components that generate power. It often includes the engine, transmission, drive shafts, differentials, and the final drive. New hybrid powertrains include the battery, electric motor and control algorithm.
The Bosch 48-volt hybrid battery system reduces the car's fuel consumption using a boost recuperation system (BRS). Whenever a driver brakes, a conventional car loses energy. The BRS stores this braking energy in the battery and applies it later when the driver accelerates. This design reduces fuel usage and produces less CO2 in the exhaust.
The compact lithium-ion cells that Bosch uses are also standardized for easy integration into new vehicle models. Bosch prices its powertrain offerings for affordability and is targeting the growing mass market interest in hybrid versions.
Regenerative Braking Systems
According to Bosch, brakes and tires are responsible for a whopping 32% of driving-particulate emissions. Around half of this emission is brake dust. Reducing brake dust can, therefore, have significant improvements in air quality.
Unlike traditional friction brakes, regenerative braking systems recuperate braking energy. They also make braking emission-free. The iBooster, an electromechanical brake booster, shortens the braking distances and works to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.
When combined with ESP®hev, a vacuum-based regenerative braking system for hybrid and electric vehicles, it can lead up to 95% less brake dust.
Better Air Quality
Energy-efficient powertrain systems play significant roles in reducing carbon emissions.
Bosch-made electrical powertrain components are already powering more than half a million vehicles on the road worldwide. Produced only in late 2018, the high demand for such models is a clear sign that cutting down CO2 emissions is a priority for automakers everywhere. Bosch anticipates that some 15 million 48-volt hybrid vehicles will be on the road by 2025.
Hopefully, the rise of electrified powertrains represents progress towards better air quality in cities. Other areas to look at would be cleaner fuel alternatives as well as shared vehicle usage through public transportation or carpools.
There is a growing consensus on the need for more sustainable patterns of transport activities. Indeed, the impact of mobility on the quality of urban life, including its effects on health and social inequities requires a fundamental shift toward environment-friendly technologies and mindsets.