100 Years Of Bosch Starter Motors

100 Years Of Bosch Starter Motors

Today, more than 12 million starter motors are manufactured worldwide every year.

A century ago, in March 1914, Bosch presented its first electric starter motor for automobiles. This marked a giant leap forward in automotive electrification, which would make driving safer and more comfortable. Electric starter motors were a great relief for motorists of the day. It took a lot of effort to start a heavy, large-volume engine, but now chauffeurs no longer had to work up a sweat cranking the engine. What’s more, with manual starting there was always a risk that the crank handle might slip or suddenly kick back – possibly causing serious injury.
The electric power for the new starter motor came from the vehicle battery, which was part of the Bosch automotive lighting system. Bosch had launched this independent power supply system only a year earlier. While the earliest starter motors weighed almost 10 kilograms and delivered just 0.6 kilowatts of power, the starter motors in today’s portfolio weigh between 1.9 and 17 kilograms and cover a power range of 0.8 to 9.2 kilowatts, demonstrating just how far starter motor technology has advanced.
The Start Of A New Line Of Business
“The starter motor is typical of the products Bosch launched in the early days of motorization. All of them were designed to eliminate shortcomings in function, operation and safety,” said Ulrich Kirschner, president of the Bosch Starter Motors and Generators division. It was Gottlob Honold, Bosch’s chief engineer, who had the idea of using an electric motor to start the engine. Other manufacturers had already attempted to do the same; while the results of their efforts worked relatively well, they were still unsuitable for everyday use and series production. So if Bosch moved quickly, it could develop a better starter motor of its own.
No More Cranking
It wasn’t uncommon for motorists to come to serious harm when, instead of turning over, the engine would kick back a short way and cause the heavy crank handle to hit them. At a time when many people were still suspicious of the recently introduced automobile, this danger might all too easily tarnish its public image. Owners – predominantly wealthy individuals who were becoming keen on driving their automobiles themselves rather than being chauffeured – demanded a more convenient alternative. The new electric starter motor could be operated safely and reliably, first by means of a foot pedal and soon after at the touch of a button.
Initially, most of the demand for electric starter motors came from North America. This was reason enough for Robert Bosch to ramp up starter motor production at the company’s plant in Plainfield, N.J., in 1914. Initially, sales of the new device remained modest; by 1927 Bosch had sold approximately 11,000 units. Then, the starter motor gradually became more widely accepted, and nearly 550,000 were sold by 1933. But still it took decades for the crank handle to disappear completely from the world’s roads, according to Bosch.
Series production of starter motors specifically tailored for use in start-stop systems began in 2007. To save fuel, this function stops the engine when the vehicle is at a standstill. As soon as the driver presses the gas pedal, the engine starts again – quickly, quietly, and automatically. In order to achieve further reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, Bosch engineers are working on gradually extending the scope of engine shutoff. In what is known as coasting mode, the engine will initially be shut off whenever the vehicle is coasting to a stop. Later, the coasting function will be extended to stop the engine even while on the open road, whenever the driver’s foot is no longer on the gas pedal.
Today, Bosch offers a broad spectrum of robust, reliable starter motors for gasoline and diesel engines – for passenger cars and commercial vehicles, supporting both 12- and 24-volt vehicle electrical systems. In addition to ease of integration, Bosch starter motors are lightweight, compact and powerful, reducing fuel consumption and emissions, the company notes. Bosch manufactures more than 12 million starter motors every year, and these are installed in at least one in every five newly manufactured vehicles worldwide.

You May Also Like

Advance Launches ‘Diehards Choose DieHard’ Campaign

The campaign features former Marine sergeant and world-renowned climber Kirstie Ennis.

Advance Auto Parts has unveiled a 60-second documentary-style video and campaign featuring former Marine sergeant and world-renowned climber Kirstie Ennis.

Titled “The Climber,” the video chronicles Ennis’s journey from serving in the U.S. Marine Corps and the loss of her leg above the knee after her helicopter went down in Afghanistan. It also captures her recovery and focus on tackling the Seven Summits, the highest mountain in each of the seven continents.

MEMA Establishes Center for Sustainability

The mission of the new Sustainability Center is to serve MEMA members wherever they are in their sustainability journey.

MEMA Names Jackson Executive Director of Strategy and Research

He most recently was executive director of strategy and research for MEMA’s light-duty original equipment division. 

MEMA Taps Gardner to Lead Marketing and Communications

Prior to MEMA’s reorganization, marketing and communication responsibilities were siloed across MEMA’s four divisions.

MEMA Reveals New Business Structure, Branding Strategy

MEMA will operate with two groups: MEMA Aftermarket Suppliers and MEMA Original Equipment Suppliers.

Other Posts

Schaeffler Releases Technical Bulletins for LuK Product Line

For more than 50 years, LuK has been one of the most trusted and recognized brands in the automotive aftermarket.

NPW Holds 32nd-Annual Charity Golf Tournament

More than 100 players received tips from PGA’s Erik Compton during the event.

Auto-Wares Recognizes Valvoline as Supplier of the Year

Auto-Wares presented eight awards at its Winter Live Sales Meeting in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

ASE Announces 2022 Award Winners

“We had a tremendous group of nominees, and they all were deserving of this recognition,” ASE CEO Tim Zilke said.