It looks like the word that’s on everyone’s lips these days is “green energy” with all the important car makers working on electric or hybrid powertrains for their future cars. And Opel couldn’t afford to be left behind so they have announced a partnership with MeRegioMobil, the result being three electric Merivas which will be used for demonstration purposes. The project is funded by the German Ministry of Economics and Technology and its goal is to study new intelligent charging technologies that could be applied to models in the future.
“These demonstration vehicles, along with others GM has announced in other markets, will be used to study the practicality, user friendliness, and acceptance of electric vehicles among consumers. With our demonstration, we are making an important contribution to the definition of European standards for energy infrastructure, electricity saving technology and data communications,” said Opel’s Vice President of Engineering, Rita Forst.
The electric Meriva concept is powered by an electric motor producing 82 hp / 60 kW and a peak torque of 215 Nm. The battery’s total energy is 16 kWh (kilowatt hours) and it allows a range of 64 km (40 miles) and a top speed of 130 km/h, while recharging can be made either from a 230-volt household power source or using 400 volt three-phase AC. “The electric Meriva may look like the production car, but is a pure research-vehicle. We are testing charging at high currents in less than one hour, as well as the communication protocols between the vehicle and charging station,” Forst added.
And if you’re thinking this is just another electric car concept, you’re so wrong. Because what’s new about the Meriva EV is that the concept has a bi-directional charging system, which means the car also has the ability of sending power back into the electric grid. Hartmut Schmeck, spokesman for MeRegioMobil at KIT: “The possibility of delivering power from the vehicle to the network is unparalleled, no other electric vehicle can do this. Using the potential of the stabilizing effect of the vehicle battery for the power grid can only be developed through new concepts of intelligent information and communication technology.”
MeRegioMobil is an impressive project, funded by the German government and lead by energy group EnBW, with members including Opel, Daimler, Bosch, SAP, Stadtwerke Karlsruhe, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI). As part of this project, KIT and ISI have built a 60-square meter “Smart Home” on the campus of Karlsruhe University, that gets its energy from a photovoltaic cell as well as a micro combined head and power plant, while a charging station connects the Meriva as a storage unit to this local energy grid.
“MeRegioMobil is an outstanding E-Mobility project in which we are able – together with our partners – to conduct real-time testing of an intelligent, bi-directional charging management with electric vehicles for the first time. The electric Opel Meriva is a real milestone for the research project. In the future we will be able to store energy from renewable sources in the battery of the electric vehicle and then, when there is less wind supply we can retrieve it,” said Lars Walch of EnBW Energy Baden-Wurttemberg AG, and project leader of MeRegioMobil.