The Volvo C30 Electric car might not be on general sale to the public, but that doesn't mean the Swedish automaker isn't serious about its compact electric car.

Its test fleet in Sweden allows the company to fully evaluate electric vehicles before it brings one to market in full production guise, providing invaluable data on how drivers use electric cars.

A new 22 kW fast-charging option is the latest technology introduced to the C30 Electric, cutting the time for a full charge down to 1.5 hours.

Volvo C30 Electric: Winter Drive Report

Compared with the 8-10 hours of a typical European 230V outlet, that's a significant improvement. Even a quick ten-minute top-up is enough for an extra 12 miles or so--enough to get drivers out of a bind if they run low on charge.

Volvo says it's the world's first on-board three-phase charger small enough to be fitted in an electric car.

It joins another new fitment to the C30 electric, a new Siemens-made 89 kilowatt (120 horsepower) electric motor.

With peak torque of 184 pounds-feet, performance should be reasonably strong. Unfortunately Volvo only quotes an arbitrary acceleration figure of 5.9 seconds to 43 mph, but it's fair to assume it eclipses the existing C30 electric, which has a quoted 0-60 figure of around 11 seconds.

Volvo C30 Electric: How quickly does it warm up in cold weather?

Total range is just over 100 miles on the European cycle, pretty much on par with most other compact electric cars.

Volvo still has no U.S. plans for the C30 Electric, but does announce the vehicle will go on limited lease in Europe from summer 2013--just 100 cars will be produced, but this should help Volvo gather even better data before releasing a production electric car in the future.


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