The Swedish automaker Volvo is set to unveil a complete battery electric Volvo C30 this January at the 2010 North American Auto Show in Detroit. The all new zero emissions vehicle will have a range of 150 km and is Volvo’s next step towards a production version of their Recharge concept car. The safety conscious car builder is currently preparing a test fleet consisting of at least 50 electric Volvo C30s which will be used as real world test beds starting in 2011.

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Exterior
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The electric C30 is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery pack that can be recharged via either a standard household outlet or a special high capacity roadside charging station. A fill up will take about eight hours, but will be reduced when connected with a high speed charging station. With the batteries topped off, the Electric C30 can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in 11 seconds while the BEV’s top speed is up around 81 MPH. The electrified C30 has a range of 94 miles and has no gears which means that the motor’s power is delivered seamlessly, and because of the electric motors gobs of torque are available instantaneously.

UPDATE 06/11/2010: Volvo announced today that the C30 Electric is ready for delivery and that the first deliveries will be made this autumn. This is a fleet of ten experimental cars that are equipped with advanced measuring instruments. The selected users of this test fleet will drive the vehicles for a two year period to provide Volvo with the details of their driving experience.

Press release after the jump.

Press release

Volvo presented a driveable electric car prototype in September 2009. The C30 now being shown in Detroit takes the company one step further in the development process. It features both a complete interior and full instrumentation, as well as enhanced battery packaging.

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Exterior
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"The first prototype helped us identify the main technological challenges, such as battery packaging and safety issues. We have addressed these challenges without compromising the C30’s cool and fun-to-drive personality. I am very happy with the result. The electric C30 in Detroit is a much more complete product," says Lennart Stegland, Director of Volvo Cars Special Vehicles.

The next step in 2010 is a factory-built series of test cars. Selected users will drive the test fleet during a two-year trial period in order to provide Volvo Cars with valuable experience. Not just technical but also behavioural.
The Swedish Energy Agency is supporting the project by contributing SEK 150 million towards its funding.

Valuable field data

A pure electric car has different characteristics compared to a car with an internal combustion engine. Now Volvo’s experts will have the opportunity to study how users handle these differences. "Our test fleet data will be valuable in Volvo Cars’ development of electric cars. It will also provide crucial input for the infrastructure planners and help define which services are needed to make rechargeable cars the most attractive choice in the future," says Lennart Stegland.

New instruments and graphics

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Interior
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The electric C30 looks like a regular Volvo C30 and it offers the very same safety, comfort and roominess as the standard car. The most obvious difference inside the car is the new instruments facing the driver. The gauges and graphics are somewhat different to those in a conventional Volvo. The cool and user-friendly combined instrument shows in principle only road speed and energy consumption. However, it also integrates a number of new symbols such as a gauge for battery charge status and other relevant information for this type of vehicle.

The driving experience is also different to that in a conventional car. The electric C30 has no gears and the motor’s power is delivered seamlessly, with full power available immediately. "Sailing along virtually without a sound is a very special experience. The power is there instantaneously. We need to spend a lot of time verifying a transmission system that is both comfortable and safe for the driver to handle and at the same time utilizes the battery’s capacity optimally at different speeds," says Lennart Stegland.

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Exterior Wallpaper quality
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Like a regular C30 - all the fun but with no emissions

An electric motor uses about one-fourth as much energy as an engine running on fossil fuels. This superior energy efficiency suggests that interest in electric cars will increase as fuel prices rise and demands for low CO2 emissions become increasingly stringent. The Volvo C30 shown in Detroit is powered by Lithium-Ion batteries that can be recharged via either a regular household power socket or special roadside charging stations. Charging the battery fully takes about eight hours, If the car is recharged with renewable electricity, CO2 emissions could be almost zero in the well-to-wheel perspective.

Top speed with a fully charged battery pack is about 130 km/h (81 mph). Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes less than 11 seconds. The car’s range is up to 150 km (94 miles). This covers the daily transport needs of more than 90 percent of all motorists in Europe.

As safe as all other Volvos

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Interior
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The electric motor is fitted under the bonnet while the batteries (24 kWh) are installed in the propshaft tunnel and in the space normally occupied by the fuel tank, outside the passenger compartment and away from the deformations zones.

"What is more, they are well encapsulated and the structure around them has been reinforced. Electric cars represent yet another interesting challenge in our dedication to building the world’s safest cars. An electrically powered Volvo must be as safe as all other new Volvos. And the very same standards also apply to ownership, driving and protection in the event of an accident," says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars.

Market prospects for electric power

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Interior
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When it comes to electric-only cars, there are several factors that determine their appeal in the future. "The consumers must feel that this type of car is attractive both to drive and own. That is why electric cars have to be as comfortable and safe and offer the same sort of performance as cars with other power sources," says Paul Gustavsson, Director of Electrification Strategy at Volvo Cars.

He continues:

"We believe in this technology and our field test aims to demonstrate that electric cars have considerable market potential. However, offering an attractive car is not enough. What is also needed initially is a system of subsidies to make the electric car’s expensive battery technology financially viable for the car buyers. We hope that the authorities and the rest of the society will follow Volvo Cars in our "Drive Towards Zero" - Volvo Cars’ journey towards zero emissions."

2010 Volvo Electric C30 High Resolution Exterior
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Alina Moore
Alina Moore
Alina Joined the team in the early 2000s as one of the outlets very first experts, and she’s been with ever since. Over the years, she’s served various roles, but today she’s is relied on heavily to verify automotive facts, assist with formatting, and discover new and engaging topics.  Read full bio
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Show Comments


  (474) posted on 11.14.2011

I wonder if why they are kept on producing such an unreliable car! Anyway, I must say that I love the decency of its exterior appearance, and its over-all feature is absolutely very striking, regardless of its engine.

  (331) posted on 10.14.2010

I see a bunch around here (Central New Jersey). It’s a good car for the area, because we have a lot of old, narrow roads and tight parking, but it can still take a hit from an Escalade (of which there are many around here). The people I’ve talked to who own them love the little things.

  (806) posted on 10.14.2010

The electric drive terrains? i read about this in a Popular Mechanics , Volvo C30 that had all the power generating wheels , can’t believe they are close to finishing the product.

  (340) posted on 09.22.2010

why do they always put such ugly wheels on EV’s? I know aerodynamics is a top priority but those wheels shout "ugly POS" regardless of whats under the skin.

  (676) posted on 09.21.2010

I feel like they are never going to get here. I’ve been waiting to get rid of my 2005 Acura TL that I bought back in 2005 for a while now and I don’t even have anything in the flesh that I want yet.

  (743) posted on 08.19.2010

Can I bring along my microwave oven inside the car too?

  (134) posted on 08.2.2010

Ya, that would be a good question. I hope its not the whole day.

  (358) posted on 07.29.2010

How much time will it consume for the car to be recharged?

  (647) posted on 04.8.2010

I find it attractive but the infrastructure for full electric is really is not in place here in the U.S.

  (708) posted on 01.31.2010

Well, although I like the idea of using electricity in cars instead of burning chemicals that can be bad for both the living and the environment, there are certain places that I go that doesn’t have electricity so it wouldn’t be that much of a use for me and other people.

  (780) posted on 12.28.2009

cool, but it took time to fully recharge it.

  (1022) posted on 12.28.2009

For an electric car, this is probably the worst performance stats of all electric car concept. Compared to Audi E-tron, it’s a crap. Anyways even though the car is not in the level of some electric cars, it’s may be a good start for Volvo to have this car and really need some improvement on the speed and power.

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