Volvo Cars says it aims to implement a longer range and faster charging times in its forthcoming second generation of electric cars by improving lithium-ion battery technology, starting with the company’s first SUV on a completely new electric-only technology base.
By the middle of the decade, as it introduces its third generation of electric cars, Volvo Cars says it plans to improve the range further and integrate the battery pack into the floor of the car, using the cell structure for overall vehicle stiffness and improving efficiency. In the near term, Volvo Cars plans to work with Swedish battery company Northvolt to further increase the energy density in its battery cells by up to 50% compared to what is on the market today. Later this decade, Volvo Cars also says it hopes to break the 1000 Wh/l energy density milestone, in order to achieve 1000 km (621 miles) of real driving range.
Volvo says current charging times are expected to be cut almost in half by mid-decade, thanks to better battery technology and continuous improvements to software and fast-charging technology.
Battery cells from Volvo Cars’ planned collaboration with Northvolt aim to be produced using 100% renewable energy, while it is working with other battery suppliers to do the same by 2025. Volvo Cars’s strategy is to further reduce the carbon impact of batteries by making better use of the valuable material contained in them. Wherever possible, it intends to remanufacture or reuse batteries and is also investigating potential second-life applications, such as energy storage. The company says where possible, batteries that have reached the end of their lifespan will be recycled at authorized recyclers that are able to offer closed-loop recycling of critical materials for use in future batteries. Volvo Car Group’s planned partnership with Northvolt also raises the possibility to utilize their established recycling operations, the company says.
With the successor to the XC90, the company says it will offer bi-directional charging, allowing customers to offload excess electricity in their car battery to the power grid. This means electric Volvo drivers can provide energy to the grid when prices and CO2 emissions related to electricity production are at their daily peak while charging their car when emissions fall.
Earlier this month, Volvo Car Group announced a planned collaboration with Northvolt to develop and produce sustainable batteries. These will be tailored to power the next generation of pure electric Volvo and Polestar cars and secure a future supply of sustainable batteries needed to support growth, the company says.