Volvo Cars to work with Northvolt to boost energy density in battery cells up to 50% compared to today in near-term; seeking 1000 Wh/l this decade
01 July 2021
Rapidly moving towards becoming a fully electric car company, Volvo Cars is bringing battery cell technology development and production closer to home and aims to tailor its future batteries to the needs of its customers: a longer range and faster charging times.
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.
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 Northvolt to 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 looks to break the 1000 Wh/l energy density milestone, in order to achieve 1000 km (621 miles) of real driving range.
Current charging times are expected to be cut almost in half by mid-decade, due to better battery technology and continuous improvements to software and fast-charging technology.
By simplifying the design and integration of our battery cells, we can reduce weight and maximize space, allowing for considerable improvements in battery capacity, range and charging times.—Henrik Green, chief technology officer
As Volvo Cars is moving towards becoming an all-electric car company, the importance of sustainability increases in parallel. While the company will increase the battery energy in its cars over the coming decade, it will also work to continuously reduce their carbon impact.
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 has a clear strategy 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.
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.
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.
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.
Volvo Cars’ electrification roadmap is firmly focused on vertical integration, involving the in-house design, development and production of batteries, e-motors and relevant software in collaboration with strategic partners. The aim is to achieve as many synergies and efficiencies as possible throughout the entire battery supply chain.