How Bosch and IBM are using supercomputers to boost the supply of essential minerals for electric vehicles
Bosch, one of the world’s leading suppliers of auto parts and technology, is working with another technology giant, IBM, in a “strategic quantum computing” partnership. With this arrangement, Bosch will join the IBM Quantum Network as experts from both teams search for alternatives to critical minerals used to power electric vehicles.
One of the most important factors hindering the launch of the electric car is the limited supply of important earth metals used in electric car batteries and engines such as lithium, cobalt and nickel.
As the world’s largest economies move toward zero-emissions electric vehicles, sales are only expected to accelerate in the next few years. Furthermore, the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act in the United States sets requirements for strict collection of electric vehicle batteries and mineral sources to qualify for the $7,500 tax credit. The question becomes, how do we bridge the supply gap?
Most automakers are racing to sign supply agreements to make sure they have the materials to meet their goals. Meanwhile, companies like Li-Cycle and Nth Cycle are developing innovative ways to recycle and process battery metals to ensure future supply.
Bosch and IBM are collaborating to take a step further, using quantum supercomputers to simulate different models looking at materials that might have substituents or at least partial substitutions.
Bosch hires IBM to boost the metals of electric vehicles
After announcing its conversion of a building formerly used to build diesel engine components into a space to manufacture electric vehicle engines at its Charleston, South Carolina facility, Bosch aims to further accelerate the rollout of electric vehicles with metallic alternatives.
Bosch will bring its expertise in materials simulation and mass production, combining it with IBM’s quantum computing technology and knowledge of quantum algorithms.
The partners have already begun working together by laying the foundations for advanced algorithms and workflows, thus allowing for computer-generated material designs.
Thomas Krupp, President of Bosch Research, explains:
For Bosch, materials used in the fields of electric mobility, renewable energies and sensor technology play a particularly prominent role here.
Developing alternatives to these materials needed to build electric cars could speed up their rollout while keeping prices affordable.
Scott Crowder, IBM Vice President of Adoption and Business Development adds:
Even simple models of real materials tend to quickly become difficult for conventional computers to simulate. This is why Bosch’s collaboration with IBM, as well as the Expanded IBM Quantum Network, are so important to quantum computing research. We will work together to tackle a wide range of materials science problems, in the areas of electric mobility, renewable energy and sensor technology.
Dr. Stefan Hartung, CEO of Bosch, says the company is also interested in “new magnets for electric motors that are lighter, more compact, more efficient and more readily available. The addition of these new developments “promises to be more environmentally friendly than rare earths.”
Bosch and IBM’s collaboration to develop alternatives to rare earth metals is promising. Quantum computers are extremely powerful, using a variety of algorithms to process large amounts of data in seconds.
Perhaps, most importantly, seeing two technology groups combine their experience and knowledge to create solutions will help drive widespread electric vehicle adoption.
If they can develop alternatives, it could promote lower costs for electric vehicles by making them easier for automakers to obtain, and open up the market for buyers looking for zero-emission travel options.
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