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Three Battery-Electric Opel Merivas to Participate in MeRegioMobil Research Project; Vehicle-to-Grid Integration
29 September 2010
|The battery-electric Opel Meriva research vehicle. Click to enlarge.|
Opel is developing three battery-electric versions of its Meriva small MPV as research vehicles to participate in the MeRegioMobil research project funded by the German Ministry of Economics and Technology. The research project has the goal of integrating electrical vehicles as mobile energy storage units in the future intelligent power grid (smart grid).
Opel will use MeRegioMobil to study new intelligent charging technologies. The electric Meriva features electronic controls which permit high power electrical recharging using both a 230-volt single-phase household current as well as 400-volt three-phase AC. The demonstration will also explore the vehicle-to-grid (V2G) capability of the car via the bi-directional charging system when the car is not in use and the driver permits it.
This demonstration of two-way charging technology will test the practicality of distributed energy storage in car batteries for home usage, Opel said.
The electric Meriva has a 60 kW (82 hp) three-phase asynchronous motor with integrated power electronics and planetary gear. Torque output is 215 N·m (159 lb-ft). Equipped with a 16 kWh Li-ion battery pack, the Meriva has a range of 64 km (40 miles) on the NEDC and a top speed of 130 km/h (81 mph). Charging time with 230V is approximately 3.5 hours; charging time with 400V is approximately 1 hour.
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.—Rita Forst, Opel’s Vice President of Engineering
Opel’s engineers integrated the electric drive without making concessions on luggage capacity or comfort.
Under the leadership of the energy group EnBW, other members of the consortium include: Daimler, Bosch, SAP, Stadtwerke Karlsruhe, the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research (ISI).
KIT will use the first electric Meriva. Two more will soon enter service at Stadtwerke Karlsruhe and EnBW. KIT and the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research have built a “Smart Home” on the south campus of Karlsruhe University. The home’s 60-square meter building area is equipped with the usual appliances including refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and washing machine and gets its energy from a photovoltaic cell as well as a micro combined heat and power plant. 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.—Lars Walch of EnBW Energy Baden-Wurttemberg AG, and project leader of MeRegioMobil
Communications technology plays a key role in the MeRegioMobil project. Depending on how the residents want to use the Meriva, they can distribute the energy between home and vehicle by computer. This ensures that the electric Meriva always has enough energy to meet transportation needs and enables some buffering of green power from the photovoltaic equipment.
The participating energy providers are currently building hundreds of public charging stations in the project region of Baden-Württemberg. There, the demonstration vehicles can be re-charged at a variety of destinations using renewable energy. The goal of this infrastructure usage is also to test a new data communication and billing system similar to the system used for mobile-phones; in the future, users of electric vehicles should be able to recharge at any energy provider. Users then receive the one bill from their energy provider.
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