Vauxhall/Opel is pushing ahead with a new partnership designed to integrate electric vehicles into modern networks and infrastructures.
The two plug-in Merivas spied here were caught during a charging cycle last week, prompting internet speculation that Vauxhall/Opel is working on a fully electric version of its mini-MPV.
But a Vauxhall spokesman insisted, “This car does not indicate that we’re considering building a hybrid or electric powertrain for the Meriva.”
Instead, the cars are believed to be part of Opel’s role within MeRegio (Minimum Emission Region), a research project that involves seven other partners including Bosch, Daimler (through the Smart brand) and data management firm SAP.
It’s designed to integrate the next generation of electric vehicles into the network, intelligently managing load and charging phases, feeding back energy into the grid where required (and crediting the car user with this), and facilitating cross-border roaming standards.
The project also aims to establish up to 600 private, commercial and public charging points in Baden-Württemberg.
Several manufacturers, including BMW with its Mini E, have identified power network integration as an area of potential problems and benefits for electric vehicle users.
It’s hoped that using the battery capacity of thousands of EVs would help to offset the costs of cells, which are still relatively expensive.
More details of Opel’s involvement are expected this autumn. But it’s still unclear if the manufacturer’s input will extend to a fleet of trial vehicles, a policy that has been adopted by several motoring manufacturers.