Volvo hopes its electric C30 will get a boost from faster charging (Photo: Volvo)

Selected customers will start driving Volvo Cars' new fast-charging electric vehicles this summer, as the Swedish carmaker tests a new technology designed to address one of the major issues facing the EV industry.

Today's lithium-ion batteries used to power EVs provide a driving range of between 100 and 150km. That means EVs without so-called range extenders are mainly fit for driving in cities. And because recharging tends to take a long time, an EV is not particularly suited for longer trips.

Volvo announced in November, 2012, that it was developing technology that would let an EV driver recharge the battery of  an electric C30 model in 1.5 hours, using a three-phase outlet. The charge then provides a driving range of 164km, Volvo said.

This summer, European leasing customers will begin testing C30s equipped with the technology.

"Adding the innovative fast charging solution will radically improve the time and mileage for the daily usage of the car," said Lennart Stegland, vice president Electric Propulsion Systems at Volvo Cars.

Volvo has teamed up with German industrial group Siemens to upgrade its electric powertrains and Siemens is the main electric powertrain provider for the carmaker's so-called "Scalable Product Architecture (SPA)." SPA provides Volvo with the option to equip all future models with hybrid or pure electric power trains.

Volvo hopes faster charging will encourage more people to buy electric vehicles. Said Stegland: "By offering more usable hours a day, we've taken an important step towards making electric cars more viable as a commercial proposition, in both the private and public sectors."