Volvo C30 Electric Gets Serious Upgrade to Motor; Adds 22-kW Brusa Charger


Volvo C30 Electric

Volvo C30 Electric Generation I

There’s been next to no news updates on the Volvo C30 Electric.  In fact, info from Volvo has been so limited recently that we partially expected Volvo had killed off the electric C30, but that’s obviously not the case.

Volvo C30 Gen II

Volvo C30 Gen II

Volvo just announced its C30 Electric will get some serious upgrades in “second-generation” form.

But it’s been ages since the C30 Electric made headlines, so let’s first fill in some background information.

Back in June 2011, Swedish automaker Volvo commenced production of the C30 Electric.  The C30 was later delivered to approximately 250 customers throughout Europe, including Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands and Norway.  It’s a prototype lease-only vehicle that Volvo charges an arm and a leg for.  The lease rate is somewhere around $2,100 per month and there’s no option to purchase the vehicle.  So, a three-year rental costs north of $70,000.  Basic specs on the first-gen C30 were as follows:

  • Range approximately 150 kilometers (93.2 miles)
  • Top speed: 81 mph
  • 0 to 31 mph in 4 seconds

But now a second-generation C30 is coming, says Volvo.  Again, the C30 Electric will be a demo fleet vehicle provided to 100 customers in Europe who are willing to lease it at a rate that’s not yet be announced.  We assume it will still be prohibitively expensive, but at least there are some substantial upgrades to go along with its high price tag.

22-kW Brusa On-Board Charger

22-kW Brusa On-Board Charger

The second-gen C30 will launch this summer with a upgraded electric motor and an impressive 22-kW on-board charger.

With the 22-kW Charger, the Volvo C30 Electric Charges in 1.5 Hours

With the 22-kW Charger, the Volvo C30 Electric Charges in 1.5 Hours

The upgraded Siemens motor for the gen II C30 boasts a peak power output of 89 kW (120 hp) and a torque rating of 184 pound-feet.  This motor propels the gen II C30 from 0 to 43 mph in 5.9 seconds and from 0 to 62 mph in 10.7 seconds. The motor in the first generation C30 put out only 83 kW (111 hp) and 162 pound-feet of torque.

Though the upgraded motor is worthy of mention, it’s the 22-kW on-board charger from Brusa that’s most impressive.  The Brusa 22-kW charger supports a single-phase input voltage range of 200 to 250 V and a three-phase input voltage range range of 360 to 440 V. Maximum charging current is listed at 60 Amps.

Red cord is three-phase charger (16-32 Amp), blue is for permanent installation (0-32 Amp) and yellow is standard 0-16 Amp.

Red cord is three-phase charger (16-32 Amp), blue is for permanent installation (0-32 Amp) and yellow is standard (0-16 Amp).

Using the proper three-phase outlet, the second generation Volvo C30 Electric can be fully charged from empty in 1.5 hours.  The C30 features a 24-kWh lithium-ion battery pack, of which 22.7 kWh can be used to power the vehicle, says Volvo. A standard charge using 220 volts still takes 8 to 10 hours.

Brusa’s 22-kW NLG6 charger entered production in 2012.

As we mentioned, the Volvo C30 Electric is too costly and far too limited to make a dent in the electric vehicle segment, but it seems a capable plug-in automobile that we’d say Volvo should give a true production green light to.  As it stands, this pricey, limited electric is reserved for a few hundred elites, but that shouldn’t be the case, especially not when it’s obvious Volvo did its homework and made a remarkable electric.

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6 Comments on "Volvo C30 Electric Gets Serious Upgrade to Motor; Adds 22-kW Brusa Charger"

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A 22 kW charger… (drooling). The Chevy Volt’s 3.3 kW charger looks puny in comparison. Let’s say the Volt finally got a 6.6 kW charger pushing 20 mph charging, 2 hours for a full charge. It would still look mediocre as compared to 22 kW, 60 mph charging.

As the market advances, it’s clear that higher power charging is the way to go, though I expect AC charging on single phase to top out around 20 kW, though 3-phase could easily go to 50 kW or more.

The key will be managing demand – smart chargers capable of high power draws that are able to adjust their charge rate according to grid conditions will be important. At the very least, one might want to maximize charging during off-peak hours.

I wonder how much this 22 kW 3-phase / 14 kW single-phase charger costs? It appears to be similar in size if not smaller than most of today’s 3-10 kW single-phase chargers.

The 22kw rating or anything near it is for 3 phase operation only. I’m gathering that most European Locales limit single phase power draw. So that would be under 8 kw under the best of circumstances. The 60 amp capacity thing is out of left field, since the cords listed are only good for 32 amps. And 32 amps at 400 volts is 22kw in any event. Looks like a standard Mennekes arrangement Tesla will probably have to duplicate seeing as they’ve chosen to integrate the Mennekes into the car, in my view a poor decision. There’s a much easier way to get European Mennekes capability, and I’m quite certain it is not universally wanted/needed there either.

It seems faster 20kW(Tesla) or faster onboard chargers is the way to go, for faster charging while the DC infrastructure is building out in the US. 6.6 kW onboard chargers should be the baseline, and phase out the slow 3.3kW.


The trend seems to be the other way around. GM has apparently standardized on 3.3 kw, as has mitsubishi, fisker, and a few others I forget now. Some European countries limit single phase demand to 240 volts, 16 amps.

Utilities in general dislike large demands unless youre a commercial demand customer, then they LOVE them since it becomes a profit center.

I remember when EV’s first came out everyone was worried they’d “overtax the Grid”. No chance of that with a 3.3 kw car.

For Volvo to do this, it means that a production V40 Electric won’t be that far behind…2014?