- volvo aims to have half of its sales be evs by 2025 with a transition to an ev-only lineup by 2030, and its partnership with battery maker northvolt will be crucial for these ambitions.
- a new in-house operating system, developed in partnership with google, will underpin a revised infotainment interface designed to limit driver distraction.
- volvo will analyze data from its vehicles' lidar and radar sensors in real time so it can quickly roll out over-the-air updates that will increase its cars' autonomous abilities.
while rolling out the concept recharge today, volvo used its tech moment event to reveal plans for technological advancements in the coming years. the company focused on a few key areas: battery production, computing power, infotainment, and, of course, safety.
volvo wants electric vehicles to comprise 50 percent of its sales by 2025 with a full ev lineup by 2030, and it has stopped work on internal-combustion engines. volvo has entered into a partnership with swedish battery maker northvolt, working together to boost energy density by up to 50 percent over today's batteries and slash charging times in half by the mid-2020s. volvo and northvolt aim to produce batteries using only renewable energy and to recycle as much material from old batteries as possible.
the next generation of volvo evs will also include bidirectional charging, so homeowners could—in theory, at least—power their house via their car’s battery during periods of peak demand when electricity can be more expensive and dirtier than at off-peak times. this will depend on the owner's charging equipment and their local utility's billing policies. long-term, volvo is dedicated to vertical integration for ev production, hoping to bring the design, development, and production of batteries, motors, and software in house.
volvo’s reputation is built on its dedication to safety, and the company highlighted how autonomous driving systems will help reduce crashes. lidar sensors, like the one atop the concept recharge, will supplement radar and traditional cameras to improve the precision of the car's ability to visualize the environment around it. volvo will—with owners’ permission—process the data collected by these sensors in real time so it can deliver over-the-air updates more quickly and gradually increase the level of autonomous driving its cars are capable of. volvo said it is focusing on bringing unsupervised autonomous driving to highways first before expanding it to different geographical locations one by one as the data from those areas becomes available.
volvo also announced a new core computing system, which it will introduce on an ev arriving next year. developed with partner nvidia, the system is made up of three main computers, with one dedicated to vision processing and artificial intelligence, another for general computing, and a third focusing on infotainment. the core system will also decrease the number of electronic control units onboard each volvo from 100 to 50, saving weight and improving energy efficiency.
the core computing system will be coupled with volvo's own in-house operating system, dubbed volvocars.os, developed in collaboration with google. the new infotainment system is focused on safety, with the vehicle's screen splitting up information in clear and simple ways to prevent distracted driving. only the most relevant information, based on the driving situation, will appear on the screens, with important functions front and center instead of buried away in a sub-menu. with volvo's future products, your phone will act as a key and the volvo cars app will be used to find and pay for charging and activate remote features like pre-heating and cooling.
many of the features volvo previewed at the tech moment will make their first appearance on the flagship suv due to be revealed next year. this is expected to be the electric successor to the xc90, the largest vehicle volvo currently builds, and should bear a strong resemblance to the concept recharge.