Volvo and Polestar have introduced a new electric vehicle-centered app called “Range Assistant.” Appropriately named, the innovative tech feature aims to optimize all-electric driving range through various methods and will arrive via over-the-air (OTA) update to the Volvo XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2, both prominent electric vehicle (EV) offerings from the two brands. The proprietary app is compatible only with Volvo and Polestar EVs that run the Android Automotive infotainment system.
The Range Assistant app, which Volvo developed in-house, allows drivers to keep track of how far their battery charge will take them by providing a clear and detailed reading of the estimated remaining driving range and real-time energy consumption data. The system aims to help drivers understand the myriad factors that impact their ability to travel a given distance in an EV.
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The app’s range-optimizer functionality can adjust automatically to various in-car systems such as climate controls to extend driving range. Range Assistant also takes an educational approach by coaching drivers on their driving style and making specific suggestions regarding speed and braking to help improve all-electric range. The benefits of these recommendations will apply in both highway and in-town driving alike.
In addition to making active adjustments and providing real-time coaching, Volvo says Range Assistant also offers certain passive forms of range-enhancing operations for better battery management and regeneration performance. The carmaker also claims that the feature offers “a smarter timer to precondition batteries.” An example of this is when a destination is selected in Google Maps, and the car automatically preconditions the batteries for maximum charging speed on arrival.
“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,” said Sanela Ibrovic, head of the connected experience at Volvo Cars. “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.”
Volvo says the app will be rolled out immediately for XC40 Recharge models via OTA update. After that, the Volvo C40 Recharge will receive Range Assist but will have the functionality built into the car right on the production line before ever reaching the customer.
Although Volvo claims Range Assistant will improve all-electric distance traveled, the automaker has not offered an estimated increase in range as a percentage or numerical quantity. But with the XC40 Recharge’s 208-mile range, even a 5- percent improvement would push its single-charge limit to almost 220 miles.
Volvo began OTA updates at the beginning of 2021. In addition to Range Assistant, Volvo’s latest OTA update includes “further improvements on the safety systems, new information about cold climate impact on battery range, and various bug fixes.”