We all love updates on our smartphones and computers because they bring new features and improve security. However, if you drive an electric Volvo model, you might be due for an update as the Swedish carmaker is pushing one over the air.
The update is loaded as it contains many improvements and some new features. The changes include battery management and a timer for preconditioning. There is a new app too, called Range Assistant, that assists drivers to get the most efficiency out of the battery and also gives tips for more efficient driving.
Volvo’s performance brand, Polestar, is also pushing out the update. The two brands use the same CMA platform and share many features, which explains why they are getting similar updates.
The Range Assistant app is still in beta, but it will give the owners a good estimate of the remaining range. It will also report energy usage in real-time during rides.
The app will also let drivers adjust climate settings in a way that will extend the driving range. Owners can also get the optimal time to precondition their battery. By using the app, the car’s battery will give enhanced performance.
Volvo is sending out the update to the XC40 Recharge model at the moment, and the soon-to-be-released C40 Recharge will get it from day one.
For Polestar, the update adds an Eco Climate driving mode that automatically adjusts the effect of the climate controls on the battery, thereby extending the range. This is useful when the battery gets low, and you still have a ways to go before finding a charger.
The Polestar got an update earlier this year that added preconditioning, but the new Range Assistant can now program it. Owners can use it to time precondition to occur when they are setting out.
More interestingly, Polestar’s preconditioning now integrates with Google Maps because you can set a public charging station as a marker or destination, and the car will automatically start preconditioning the battery when you get close to the station. This nifty feature will help to increase charger speed during cold months.
Last year, Tesla cars got an update that added preconditioning the battery as the vehicle gets near a charger, whether the charger belongs to Tesla or not.
Volvo Cars’ head of connected experience, Sanela Ibrovic, said:
“Through in-house development of software and over-the-air updates, we can constantly improve our cars and make sure that your electric Volvo stays fresh. The Range Assistant app is a great example of how quick development and deployment of new features can improve the Volvo customer experience every day.”
Rolling out updates to cars over the air has become a norm, especially to electric vehicles. Instead of taking the car physically to a dealership or other support center, car owners can receive updates directly in their garages.
With a cellular or Wifi connection, the car can pull up updates from the manufacturer’s cloud or server and install them. If there is any problem, the update can be rolled back.
Car makers sometimes attempt to use software updates as a stopgap while preparing for a recall. Other car manufacturers have tried to use them to dodge recalls by limiting some problematic features or parts.
EV technicians can also carry out a remote diagnostic on enabled models to find out what is wrong before requesting the car to be brought to a workshop.
Volvo and Polestar are committed to improving the performance of their cars and adding new features through updates.
Apart from software updates, Volvo is expanding the Polestar 2 for the 2022 model. Buyers can now choose between dual-motor and single-motor configurations. They can also pick from additional Plus Package and Performance Package options.
The single-motor version will get 265 miles range, according to EPA, when it arrives in January. The dual-motor version offers 249 miles, a minor improvement over the 233 miles on the original Polestar 2. It will hit the market a month earlier than the single-motor version.
Volvo is upgrading the hardware to lidar and very powerful computers for the Recharge lines to enable more advanced driver assists. The XC90 is expected to be the first beneficiaries when it comes next year.