Polestar pushed out an over-the-air software update for the 2, its electric sedan, that brings powertrain and infotainment modifications, among other changes. Owners have already started receiving the new software.
Giving an electric car more range by pushing out an over-the-air software update isn't as straightforward as simply instructing it to drive further on a single charge. Numerous factors influence range, including software, hardware, the owner's driving style, topography, and the power-sapping features being used (like the air conditioning system and the heated seats). Polestar told Autoblog that it nonetheless found a way to add a few miles to the 2's official 233-mile range by tweaking the regenerative braking system so that it better balances the recharging process.
In other words, the over-the-air software update isn't going to double the 2's driving range overnight, but it shows how owners can benefit from small improvements that add up over time. Better yet, the changes are free.
Moving beyond the powertrain, the software update also brings an upgrade to the Android-powered infotainment system, bug fixes, and a new safety feature called Connected Safety. It harvests data from nearby Polestar and Volvo cars to warn drivers if they're about to encounter a hazard, like an ice patch or an accident.
"With our latest OTA update, we provide improvements to various items including Bluetooth connectivity, climate timers, the digital owner's manual, and the 360-degree camera. It also includes an upgrade to the latest Android Automotive operating system, range improvements, and incremental speed improvements for DC charging," summed up company boss Thomas Ingenlath in a statement.
Polestar, like most of its peers and rivals, isn't worried about making motorists wait for their car to download a new software package. Everyone who uses an electronic device (whether it's a phone, a tablet, or a laptop) expects it to pause and update itself every now and then, so there's no reason why cars — which raced past iPhones in the complexity department many years ago — should be an exception to the rule.
Volvo released a software update for the electric XC40 Recharge, too. Sent to cars in Europe, it includes a new base software for the main electronic system and updates to the infotainment system, among other changes. It sounds like the same range improvements announced for the 2 will apply to the XC40 Recharge as well.
While over-the-air technology is often inaccurately associated with EVs, nothing prevents gasoline- and diesel-powered models from receiving new software wirelessly. Chevrolet reprogrammed the 2020 Corvette's Body Control Module (BCM) with an over-the-air update in August 2020. Ford went further, pointing out that nearly 60 of the new F-150's systems can be updated wirelessly, and noting the technology will help it space out vehicle redesigns.
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