Volvo Is Betting on This New Charging Technology

Jackson Wheeler
4 Min Read

  • Volvo reveals investment in London-based startup Breathe Battery Technologies, which promises algorithm-enabled charging software that will be introduced in a new generation of Volvo EVs.
  • The software can speed up charging times by as much as 30%, with the software using adaptive charging in order to dynamically control the battery.
  • Several EV makers have invested in startups promising faster charging tech, as well as solid-state battery designs, all with the hope of delivering more range and faster charging times, as well as lower battery costs.

It’s easy to get the impression in today’s EV landscape that when it comes to charging, the power output of a given charging stall is all that matters. And even that’s rarely guaranteed, as many charging stations we’ve been to deliver juice at a lower-than-advertised rate.

But there’s more to quicker charging than just more powerful DC charging stations.

Volvo is teaming up with London-based startup Breathe Battery Technologies to get access to in its algorithm-enabled charging software, headed into the new generation of Volvo EVs.

The automaker plans to integrate the company’s software into its battery management platform, to help reduce the time it takes to charge an EV from 10% to 80% state of charger by as much as 30%.

Breathe says that its software employs adaptive charging in order to dynamically control the battery, in contrast to traditional stepped charging which relies on predetermined rules.

“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 explains.

The automaker says that integration of this software will be easy, since it’s already fully compatible with the hardware in its EVs.

What’s more, the the charging time improvements are promised to remain through the full battery life cycle, with no effect on the health of the battery.

But Volvo hasn’t mentioned whether the rollout of this software can be accomplished via over-the-air updates for existing cars as well, or whether they’re destined only for upcoming vehicles.

Volvo’s partnership with the startup is the latest example of an investment by its corporate venture capital arm, the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

the track club

“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,” said says Ann-Sofie Ekberg, CEO of the Volvo Cars Tech Fund.

Breathe Battery Technologies isn’t the only startup trying to squeeze out faster charging times via clever software, but most other companies are also betting on different lithium-ion battery designs when it comes to hardware to achieve faster charging times.

Despite constant promises of solid-state batteries being just around the corner, it appears that more traditional lithium-ion (as well as lithium iron phosphate) compositions will be with us for a while, simply for battery cost reasons if not always manufacturing reasons.

Headshot of Jay Ramey

Jay Ramey grew up around very strange European cars, and instead of seeking out something reliable and comfortable for his own personal use he has been drawn to the more adventurous side of the dependability spectrum. Despite being followed around by French cars for the past decade, he has somehow been able to avoid Citroën ownership, judging them too commonplace, and is currently looking at cars from the former Czechoslovakia. Jay has been with Autoweek since 2013. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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