Tiffany Mittelstenscheid, Product Manager Fuel Cell Stack at Bosch, speaks about the future prospects for fuel cells and their future uses. In our five-question interview, she also reveals what she is most looking forward to when she thinks about IAA MOBILITY.
How do you see the future prospects for the fuel cell?
The fuel cell has a firm place in the range of offers for the powertrains of the future. At Bosch, we are focusing initially on commercial vehicles and looking forward to the start of series production in 2022/23. Particularly if you are looking to drive a 40-ton truck over long distances using purely electric power and therefore with no local emissions, the fuel cell is your first choice. In part, that is also because hydrogen can be taken on board in just a few minutes for a range of hundreds of kilometers, meaning that trucks do not require a particularly dense network of filling stations. And once the technology is established in commercial vehicles, we also see scope for using our fuel cell powertrains in cars. In 2030, according to forecasts by Bosch, one in every ten electric cars worldwide will be a fuel cell vehicle.
In your view, to which powertrains does the future belong, and why? Battery electric, fuel cell, or e-fuels?
The future of mobility is electric – there’s no doubt about that. But we will still continue to see vehicles with ultra-efficient combustion engines for a long time to come, depending on the region and the scenario in which it is used. That’s because, if they are run on e-fuels, they too can travel CO2-neutrally. How quickly electromobility penetrates worldwide in particular instances partly depends on the infrastructure in the respective country: In particular, how quickly will there be a sufficient number of charging points with sustainably-generated electricity, permitting the fastest possible charging?
What mode of transport do you personally most like using?
That depends a lot on where I am heading, and for what reason. If I’m travelling right across Germany to visit family, generally I’ll opt for the car. If I’m travelling to a city, I prefer the train. When I’m back home, generally it’s the bike, or I will walk.
What memories do you associate with the IAA?
For me, the IAA is always a highlight. I love the conversations with the visitors and customers. And, for me, the trade fair is also always a look into the mobile future, and that’s fantastic. Everyone is engaged with that prospect, and we look together to see what mobility is developing into.
What are you most looking forward to at the new IAA?
I am really excited about the hybrid concept for the event, and how the IAA will integrate into the city of Munich. Unbundling end-consumers and specialist visitors supports our exhibition concept. That way, we can design our information offer and our conversations to be even more geared to the target groups.
The transport and mobility sector accounts for a massive part of global CO2 emissions. By 2030, these emissions are set to be reduced by 30% for newly-registered vehicles. But battery electric powertrains are probably not enough on their own to achieve those goals. This is where the fuel cell plays to its strengths. Bosch offers an extensive range for fuel cell vehicles. At the heart of it is the fuel cell stack, with gross output of up to 132 kW. The reason for this is that an individual fuel cell does not generate enough energy to power a vehicle. This is where the stack comes into play – a stack of fuel cells switched in series. In each of these cells, the chemical reaction energy of the introduced hydrogen and the oxygen from the air is converted into electrical energy.
IAA MOBILITY is transforming itself from a pure car show to an international mobility platform with four pillars: The Summit, the Conference, the “Blue Lane” and the downtown Munich Open Space. Under the slogan of “What will move us next”, it stands for the digital and climate-neutral mobility of the future. From 7 to 12 September 2021, the car, bike and tech industries come together at IAA MOBILITY in Munich.