Vauxhall unveils electric Meriva trials

Featuring an 82hp electric motor and 215Nm of torque, the electric Merivas will be able to be charged through a standard household socket and a smart grid of electrical charging points that could theoretically be powered by solar or wind power.

The models will now be tested on the streets of Germany to discover their user-friendliness and how customer react to them, says Opel’s Vice President of Engineering, Rita Forst.

"With our demonstration, we are making an important contribution to the definition of European standards for energy infrastructure, electricity saving technology and data communications,” she said.

However, the cars are nowhere near production yet and the top speed of 130km/h has been calculated without taking into account the comfort of passengers or the driver.

“The electric Vauxhall Meriva may look like the production car, but is a pure research-vehicle," explained Forst, but she believes it is the first step towards an electric future for Vauxhall – known as Opel in Europe.

“Electric mobility opens for Opel and the entire automotive industry the door to greater independence from fossil fuels and can deliver transportation with zero vehicle emissions.” Forst said.

Vauxhall’s first ever vehicle to use electric technology will be the extended range electric Ampera, which uses an electric motor and a battery pack charged by a small petrol engine.

The Ampera has a range of 340 miles and will arrive in the UK in 2011. It is currently being showcased at the Paris Motor Show alongside the new Vauxhall GTC Paris concept car, which is widely expected to hint at a new Astra VXR model.