Volvo invests in UK software startup to boost EV charging speed by 30%

Volvo has invested in Breathe Battery Technologies and plans to install the UK startup’s software in all of its next-gen EVs.

Devices that use lithium-ion battery packs, from smartphones to cars, are typically designed to limit their power intake during charging. This is to protect the battery cells from overheating. However, it also reduces charging speed.

Breathe’s so-called adaptive charging software offers a workaround. It controls the battery and monitors its health in real-time, allowing devices, including EVs, to charge at full-power when safe. It does this while minimising the risk of damage to the battery cells. 

The result is a 15-30% increase in an EV’s charging time, says the startup. These improvements are expected to last across the entire lifespan of the battery.


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Breathe’s software is already installed in 27 models of OPPO smartphones, and now it’s looking to bring the benefits of faster charging to the automotive industry. 

the founders of breathe battery technologies
From left to right: Breathe CTO Dr Yan Zhao, chief scientist Professor Gregory Offer, and CEO Dr Ian Campbell. Credit: Breather Battery Technologies

The investment from Volvo, which remains undisclosed, is the startup’s first foray into the EV space. For the Swedish carmaker, the promise of faster charging without any changes to the battery or vehicle hardware was too tempting to pass up.

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

Early this year, Volvo’s last ever new diesel car rolled off the production line. While it is still making petrol models for now, the auto manufacturer has committed to selling only EVs from 2030 onwards. To make the shift, Volvo — like every other carmaker the world over — knows it needs to invest heavily in boosting range and charging speed.

“Fast charging is one of the cornerstone enablers for the future we strive towards,” said Dr Ian Campbell, CEO at Breathe. “Deploying our technology at scale on Volvo’s next generation EV platform opens doors to innovative car designs and performance improvements.”

Breathe’s tech should be available on new Volvo EVs within the next two to three years. Volvo said it will announce exactly which models will get the upgrades “later this year.”

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