Volvo seeks 30% quicker EV charging without battery upgrades

Volvo is looking to quicken EV charging times by relying on software rather than upgrades to batteries and other hardware.

The automaker on Monday announced a partnership with U.K.-based Breathe Battery Technologies to access that company’s “algorithm-enabled charging software” with its battery management systems—with the goal of optimizing charging performance.

Testing has indicated that this software could reduce the time to charge an EV battery pack from 10% to 80% by 15% to 30%, depending on the pack, while maintaining pack energy density and range, Volvo said in a press release.

Volvo EV battery modules

Volvo EV battery modules

Software developed by Breathe, which is receiving funding from the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, can more closely manage charging compared to current stepped charging protocols, according to Volvo. While stepped charging relies on preset rules, Breathe’s algorithms can manage charging based on real-time analysis of battery health, allowing for more flexibility and potentially quicker charging, Volvo claims.

This isn’t the only kind of charging innovation that’s more research-and-algorithm based than hardware-based. University of California Riverside researchers several years ago suggested that by closely following the internal resistance of battery cells, they could make packs last far longer.

Upgrading battery packs and switching battery cells costs money, and upgrading battery cooling costs efficiency. That’s left automakers pondering some innovative workarounds, at least in patent form. Rivian, for instance, considered blowing cool air under its trucks.

2025 Volvo EX90

2025 Volvo EX90

Meanwhile, Toyota, Nissan, and a wide range of cell makers are working on solid-state battery tech that may also allow such super-fast charging. And Volvo’s cousin Polestar is testing solid-state tech that could allow 100 miles restored in five minutes. But Lotus is among just a few companies boasting DC fast charging above 400 kw with current liquid electrolyte battery formats.

Volvo is also launching an energy business, and the upcoming EX90 is its first EV that will have all the necessary hardware for bidirectional charging.

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