PSA-owned Opel says the engineering centre at its company headquarters in Russelsheim will become a laboratory for electric-mobility working with a number of partners. Together with Kassel University, Flavia IT and Plug’n Charge, the two latter companies that specialise in charging infrastructure, the carmaker will conduct research into the ideal setup of the electricity grid for the future.

The three-year project “E-Mobility-LAB Hessen” is scheduled to receive support from the Hessian Ministry for Economy, Energy, Transport and State Development with funds provided by the European Regional Development Fund. In return, Opel will set up an intelligent charging and infrastructure system for electric cars in its Engineering centre. Installation of the first charging stations at the Opel site in Russelsheim and the test centre in Rodgau-Dudenhofen will already start in a few months.

In total, more than 160 charging stations, which will charge the electric car fleet of the Engineering centre in future, will be created. Extensive and well-founded simulations of numerous scenarios will be possible based on actual data, ensuring the transferability of the results. The concept was developed together with House of Energy, the think tank of the Hessian energy transition.

This, Opel says, is a further milestone on Opel’s journey to playing a leading role in electric-mobility – a clear goal of the Pace! strategic plan. The Russelsheim-based carmaker will have four electrified models in its portfolio by the end of 2020 and by 2024, there will be electrified variant of each model in the Opel line-up.

“Opel will be electric. We are now creating the required charging infrastructure at our Engineering centre in Russelsheim and simultaneously supporting politics and the authorities in the creation of an appropriate charging infrastructure. One thing is clear: electric-mobility will only be a success if vehicle development and expansion of the charging infrastructure go hand in hand,” said Opel CEO Michael Lohscheller.

The share of electric vehicles in the manufacturer’s development area will reflect a mobility situation as expected for 2035. With this the project partners want to gain valuable insights into the charging behaviour and requirements relating to the network expansion. Charging current and charging time are adapted according to the particular use of the development vehicles with the help of an intelligent control system. This smart infrastructure will ensure that the entire fleet is always charged appropriately despite the high energy demands of the electric vehicles – and all this with a minimum expansion of the existing electricity grid.

“The energy transition is underway, now we need to make progress with the transport transition, especially in Hesse where around half of the energy demand can be attributed to transport. That is why we are driving electric-mobility by, amongst others, the widespread support for charging infrastructure. We are delighted that a Hessian carmaker in Opel will be playing an innovative and guiding part in developing the mobility of tomorrow,” said Tarek Al-Wazir, Deputy Prime Minister of the Federal State of Hesse.

In addition, a modular battery storage, which will reuse Opel Ampera batteries to temporarily store electricity, will be installed in the Test centre Rodgau-Dudenhofen. This so-called stationary “second life” application targets mitigating peak loads and thus stabilising the electricity grid. A total of 18 vehicle batteries will be reused in the battery storage, which has the storage capacity to a supply a four-person household with electricity for a month.