A converted battery-powered Audi A2 covered the 600km stretch from Munich to Berlin this week without stopping to recharge its battery pack, the German Economics Ministry said.

The test vehicle, developed by Berlin-based DBM Energy with support from the Economics Ministry, covered the distance in seven hours at temperatures around freezing.

Most plug-in electric vehicles to enter the market in coming years are expected to have a range of between 100km and 250km, which is a major concern for carmakers as they face consumers who have little appetite for compromise in this area. With the current state of technology, most experts agree that extending the range would make battery packs too heavy and too expensive for most commercial automotive applications.

But German Economics Minister Rainer Bruederle said in a statement: "This world record shows that distances of 600km with an electric vehicle aren't utopia."He noted that the Audi was equipped with battery technology that was developed in Germany and that he hoped the systems would find broad application in electric vehicles.

The DBM battery pack is based on Lithium-Metal-Polymer technology. The Economics Ministry said DBM's batter technology has already been in use in the logistics industry for a while.