Volvo Cars partners with Breathe to develop next generation charging

Volvo Cars has partnered with Breathe Battery Technologies (Breathe), becoming the first car company to get access to the latest version of its patented, algorithm-enabled charging software for use on a new generation of fully electric cars. 

By integrating Breathe’s software in Volvo Cars in-house developed battery management platform to optimise and improve the performance of charging technology, Breathe can provide Volvo customers with even faster charging times and an enhanced overall driving and charging experience.

Volvo will implement the new technology in its new generation fully electric cars, where they expect it will reduce the time it takes to charge a fully electric Volvo from 10 to 80 per cent charging state by as much as 30 per cent*, while maintaining the same energy density and range. Even better: the charging time improvements will last across the full battery life cycle without impacting its health status.

The collaboration with Breathe is the result of a sourcing agreement for its flagship product, Breathe Charge, and represents the latest investment by the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, its corporate venture capital arm. It reflects the firm’s ambition to lead the development of premium electric cars and become a fully electric car maker by 2030.

Breathe is a London-based start-up that develops battery management software with the aim of contributing to faster, better and more sustainable electrification.

Ann-Sofie Ekberg, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, said:

“The investment and commercial partnership with Breathe helps us address a familiar pain point for electric car customers and makes our charging performance even more competitive. Faster charging times, in the range where customers typically fast charge, represent a major step in the right direction as we continue to boost electric mobility and make it available to more people.”

Unlike traditional stepped charging which relies on pre-determined rules, Breathe’s software uses adaptive charging to dynamically control the battery in real-time, resulting in significantly shorter charging times.

Using algorithms, the software manages the charging process in line with the battery’s health to deliver the best driver experience while avoiding the risk of lithium plating, which can harm the battery’s performance and lifespan.

Volvo’s investment in Breathe helps position it for an all-electric future, but it also fits with the company’s ambitions of reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions and becoming a circular business by 2040. While reducing charging times for cars, the technology achieves this without the need to change battery pack design or mine extra materials, without additional environmental impacts. 

Also, since it is fully compatible with the hardware used in our new generation fully electric cars, scaling will be easy as Volvo expect electric sales to increase significantly in coming years. 

Dr Ian Campbell, CEO of Breathe Battery Technologies, said:

“We’re very pleased with this investment and sourcing agreement with Volvo Cars and support their exciting journey towards full electrification. “Deploying our technology at scale on Volvo’s next generation EV platform opens doors to innovative car designs and performance improvements. We share a profound passion for electric mobility, and convenient, fast charging is one of the cornerstone enablers for the future we strive towards.”

The Volvo Cars Tech Fund was established in 2018 to invest in companies and technology areas that transform the automotive industry, such as electrification, AI, autonomous driving, sustainability, and digital commerce. The Tech Fund makes strategic investments to help start-ups thrive and jointly accelerate the transformation of the global mobility industry.

*Different battery packs will result in varying charging times. Testing indicated charge time improvements ranging from 15-30%.

(L-R) Ann-Sofie Ekberg (CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund), Dr. Ian Campbell (CEO of Breathe), Karin Thorn (Vice President Propulsion & Energy at Volvo Cars)

Images courtesy of Volvo Cars.

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