C30 EV will have a bio-ethanol-powered climate system for the cabin so as to not drain power from the battery pack.

Kudos to Volvo for addressing one of the largest issues with regard to electric cars - how batteries fare in extreme cold weather.

Volvo is currently testing the C30 EV in Kiruna, Sweden (north of the arctic circle) in temperatures of around minus 20 degrees Celsius (-4 F) to see how well the batteries maintain their power in the cold while the cabin climate system keeps the passengers comfortably heated during winter driving.

"We must ensure that the C30 Electric performs as intended when driving, parking and charging in a variety of conditions, from normal to very cold or hot," says Volvo Cars' director of special vehicles, Lennart Stegland.

The Volvo C30 EV is equipped with three climate systems. One system heats or cools the battery pack as needed to maximize its performance and the car's range. The electric motor and electronics are water-cooled. But for the cabin, Volvo has fitted a bio-ethanol heater with a 14.5 liter tank so that heating the cabin does not drain energy from the battery and compromise the C30 EV's range. The cabin climate system can also be run off the battery if desired via a driver controlled function.

Volvo says the C30 EV can maintain a driving range of around 80 km (50 mi) even in extreme cold weather conditions. A range it believes suitable for most drivers' needs.

Gallery: Volvo testing the C30 EV in the worst cold [video]