During today's Volvo Cars Tech Moment event, Volvo Cars announced its future technology roadmap, as the company is in a process towards becoming a fully electric premium car company by 2030.
Volvo has officially announced that in its upcoming second and third generation of electric cars will focus on range and fast charging.
Other topics in the content-rich Volvo Cars Tech Moment event to be described in separate posts.
Volvo's approach is to bring battery cell technology development and production closer to home through strategic partnerships, like the most recent one with Northvolt.
2nd generation BEVs
The second generation of BEVs will start with the upcoming new all-electric Volvo XC90, based on Volvo Car Group’s next-generation electric architecture.
The battery tech will be significantly improved in the 2nd gen of BEVs, which means more range and faster charging.
"It will do so by improving lithium-ion battery technology on its forthcoming second generation of electric cars, starting with the company’s first SUV on a completely new electric-only technology base."
3rd generation BEVs - 1,000 km of range, structural battery
The third generation of BEVs will appear on the market in the middle of the decade and will bring ultimate EV solutions.
Volvo hints at battery packs becoming an integral part of the vehicle structure (a thing pursued also by Tesla), much higher energy density (50% compared to current level), possibly above 1,000 Wh/l and much higher range of up to "1,000 km (621 miles) of real driving range".
Moreover, the charging time will be cut almost in half by mid-decade (2025 or so).
"By the middle of the decade, as it introduces its third generation of electric cars, Volvo Cars 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 leading Swedish battery company Northvolt to further increase the energy density in its battery cells by up to 50 per cent compared with what is on the market today. Later this decade, Volvo Cars also looks to break the 1000 Wh/l energy density milestone, in order to achieve 1000km (621 miles) of real driving range.
Current charging times are expected to be cut almost in half by the mid-decade, thanks to better battery technology and continuous improvements to software and fast-charging technology."
Those are really important elements that clearly indicate that Volvo is serious and wants to become a top player in the premium segment.
Henrik Green, Chief Technology Officer at Volvo Cars said:
“We want to constantly increase the customer benefits of driving a pure electric Volvo car. By simplifying the design and integration of our battery cells, we can reduce weight and maximise space, allowing for considerable improvements in battery capacity, range and charging times.”
The battery cell production for Volvo cars will be powered only using renewable electricity (Northvolt, and other suppliers by 2025).
Wherever possible, the company intends to remanufacture or reuse batteries (second-life applications).
"Where possible, batteries that have reached the end of their lifespan will be recycled at authorised 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 utilise their established recycling operations.
Volvo Cars will also continue to focus on the responsible sourcing of batteries, including through a wider use of blockchain technology. By working more closely with its partners and suppliers, Volvo Cars will strengthen its responsible sourcing even further."
Bi-directional charging (power export)
An interesting announcement is that the new Volvo BEVs, starting with the upcoming successor to the XC90, will be equipped with a bi-directional charging feature.
We don't know the details, but it seems that the company thinks about power export to power electric appliances or an entire home as well as Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G).
"Already with the successor to the XC90, the company 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."
One of the most striking elements of the Volvo Cars' plan is the vertical integration that includes "in-house design, development and production of batteries, e-motors and relevant software in collaboration with strategic partners."