An own recycling center that will optimize the life cycle. Volvo has now opened up a unit that will deal with repair, renovation and service of electric car batteries.
For a couple of years now, Volvo has had its own battery lab, a unit where you look at specifications and components before batteries end up in cars. The lab is now joined by another battery investment in the form of three regional battery centers for repair and service.
However, the new units end up at the other end of the spectrum, and will take care of the batteries and ensure that they deliver on Volvo’s promises of warranty and durability.
Of the three exchanges, one will be located in the USA, one in China and the third will end up at Hisingen. This is to be able to collaborate with Volvo’s battery lab.
– We work closely with the research and development department, but our focus is the aftermarket and service business. If something happens to the car, it is we who take care of it, says Pehr Nohrström who leads the team “battery lifecycle services” in Gothenburg, to Ny Teknik.
Pehr Nohrström says that the new center in Gothenburg will be dedicated to analyzing batteries that come in, repairing or servicing them where possible and renovating if possible. If it has gone so far that the batteries will no longer be used in cars, the next step will be analysis, as well as looking at so-called second life applications.
– We will not recycle batteries ourselves, but we handle them before they are sent for recycling. But I want to strike a blow for the knowledge we have in our techniques. We want to bring what we get into future car models and batteries, he says.
Volvo will become a pure electric car brand
But why is the investment being made now? Well, for the simple reason that on the way to Volvo’s goal of becoming a pure electric car brand – this competence must be built up.
According to Susanne Hägglund, Volvo’s aftermarket manager, the investment is extremely important.
– With our optimization strategy and our regional battery centers as competence hubs, we will maximize the use of every battery we put in a car. In addition, we must minimize the environmental consequences and costs, she says.
– There has been great uncertainty in the industry about how long a battery lasts. Our data shows that they hold up terribly well. And then we must have the ability to repair them and handle them in an efficient way – because our batteries will last the entire life of the car, says Pehr Nohrström.
The competence you build up also means that you can save money – which is probably so important in the competition.
– We must guarantee our batteries. It’s about saving money there, but also resources. Instead of replacing entire batteries, we believe in repairing or renovating. And if we do that, it will be a saving, says Susanne Hägglund.
But the knowledge aspect is not to be underestimated. As you get data on how batteries wear out and how problems around them can be solved – you also get insight into what can be improved in this regard.
Easy to replace the batteries
This is something that can possibly be translated into the battery center in the future may also handle battery changes and technology upgrades.
– Yes, we see it as something we would do if it is relevant. We have learned from the experience of our plug-in hybrids and XC40 Recharge on the CMA platform. That knowledge has been introduced at SPA2 and the upcoming electric cars. We want to make sure that it is as smooth as possible to replace and repair the batteries, says Pehr Nohrström.
Susanne Häggström says that the battery center may be new, but that it does not in itself differ from how Volvo has acted before.
– In a larger perspective, we have high hopes of being able to renovate, repair and recycle the entire car. So it’s not just the battery we should think about this. If we look at history, we renovate engines and gearboxes a lot. In 2020 alone, there will be 40,000 components – which means large amounts of saved carbon dioxide emissions.