Volvo is working with Ericsson and Gothenburg Energy on developing a system in which electric-vehicle drivers can control EV charging levels and make payments for electricity from inside of the car.

The companies, who've named the project ELVIIS (Electric Vehicle Intelligent Infra Structure), are working on a system where a seven-inch touch screens are installed inside Volvo C30 electric vehicles. Drivers can use the screen to control and pay for electricity no matter where they are charging from. Volvo will use five C30 EVs for testing over the next year.

The Swedish automaker is stepping up its investments in electric-drive technology. Volvo said a couple of years ago that it will have invested more than $2 billion between 2006 and 2014 in research and development related to boosting fuel economy and cutting CO2 emissions.

Volvo last June started making the C30 electric and estimated that about 250 would be built by the end of this year for leasing to European customers (read here for a test-drive review). The company estimated that the car would have a single-charge range of about 93 miles, a top speed of 81 miles per hour and a 0-30 miles per hour acceleration time of about four seconds. Volvo, which isn't selling the car, is charging about $2,100 a month for a lease.