Bosch has developed a hybrid powertrain it claims makes economic sense even in smaller vehicles. The system will go into production with the next vehicle generation and costs "just a fraction of today's hybrid systems".

"The boost recuperation system is the hybrid for everyone," said the supplier's mobility systems chief Rolf Bulander.

At the same time, drivers benefit from the well-known advantages of a hybrid, which make the car significantly more fuel-efficient. This makes it possible even for modern vehicles to operate 15% more economically in everyday driving situations. In addition, petrol and diesel engines are capable of more dynamic acceleration due to the electronic boost feature. The electrical powertrain provides the combustion engine with an additional 150Nm of support during acceleration. That corresponds to the power of a sporty, compact car engine.

Unlike conventional 400-volt hybrids, the system is based on a lower voltage of 48 volts and can therefore make do with less expensive components. Instead of a large electric motor, the generator has been enhanced to output four times as much power. The motor generator uses a belt to support the combustion engine with up to 10kW. The power electronics forms the link between the additional low-voltage battery and the motor generator. A DC/DC converter supplies the car's 12-volt on-board network from the 48-volt vehicle electrical system. The newly developed lithium-ion battery is also significantly smaller.

"The entry-level hybrid with 48 volts is going to become an attractive option for drivers in Europe, North America, and Asia," said Bulander. Bosch expects some 4m new vehicles worldwide to be equipped with this type of hybrid powertrain in 2020.

A new second generation of this entry-level hybrid is currently still in development. In the prototype, the more powerful motor generator is connected directly with the powertrain rather than with the combustion engine.

This allows the hybrid to provide all-electric driving even at low speeds - such as in stop-and-go traffic - in addition to immediate electric support for a short period of time.

The new hybrid makes it possible to include in compact cars a function that will celebrate its debut in premium vehicles at this year's IAA: a remote-controlled parking assistant that allows drivers to direct the parking manoeuvre from the curbside.

The assistant uses ultrasonic sensors and is based on the fully automatic parking system found in vehicles with an automatic transmission. Due to the built-in electric motor, the system is capable of accelerating by itself and independently shifting between forward and reverse gears. Plus as the parking process is started by pressing a button on the ignition key, drivers do not even have to be in the vehicle. Bosch has also developed a smartphone app that allows drivers to operate the parking assistant from outside the vehicle.