Volvo is set to enter the electric vehicle (EV) market with the production of an all-electric version of their C30 three-door compact. An electric concept based on the C30 was first seen in 2007 and last year the C30 Electric was taken to the Paris and Los Angeles Motor Shows. Now Volvo has announced its plans to begin production of the EV with the first ten cars off the production line heading to Swedish energy provider Göteborg Energi in the coming months.

While it looks like a regular Volvo C30 with similar safety, comfort and space as featured in the standard model, the big difference is of course that the C30 Electric is powered solely by electricity and produces zero local emissions.

The electric motor is housed under the bonnet and is powered by an Enerdel lithium-ion 24 kWh battery. It is charged using regular mains power with a completely depleted battery taking eight to ten hours to recharge. The EV has a range of 150 kilometers (94 miles) on a full charge, boasts a top speed of 130 km/h (approximately 80 mph) and accelerates from zero to 100 km/h in 10.5 seconds via its 82 kW electric motor.

These figures are comparable to the Nissan LEAF which has a 100 mile (160 km) range, 80kW motor, top speed of around 90 mph (140 km/h) and an estimated 8 hour recharge time.

The Volvo C30 Electric project has slated an initial production run of only 250 vehicles.

"We have had a very positive response from the market so far. If the demand continues to be high, we will of course expand our production series," Lennart Stegland, director of Volvo Car Corporation's Special Vehicles division said.

The new EV was at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show where at the company's stand featured a Volvo C30 Electric that had undergone a frontal collision test at 40 mph (64 km/h).

"Our tests show it is vital to separate the batteries from the electric car's crumple zones to make it as safe as a conventional car," Volvo Cars' President and CEO Stefan Jacoby said. "In Detroit we are the first car maker to show the world what a truly safe electric car looks like after a collision with high-speed impact."

Key specs – Volvo C30 Electric

  • Electric motor: 110 hp (82 kW)
  • Top speed: 81 mph (130 km/h)
  • Acceleration: 0-100 km/h in 10.5 sec
  • Batteries: Lithium-ion 24 kWh
  • Charge: 230V, 16A, 10A, 6A
  • Recharging duration: 8-10 hours
  • Range: 75-95 miles (120-150 km)
  • Battery weight: 2 x 310 lb (2 x 140 kg)
  • Weight increase compared with a standard car: + 600 lb (+ 300 kg)