General Motors Co. launches a second battery-electric demonstration fleet to test smart-grid technology and gauge consumer attitudes toward electric vehicles, this time under the wing of its Adam Opel GmbH unit in Germany.

The auto maker will put three electrified Opel Meriva small monocabs into service – one at a German university and two more at a power provider.

GM hands over the cars to the German government later today, as part of the larger ministry funded “MeRegioMobil” project examining the interaction between EVs and the electric grid.

Later this month, GM Daewoo Auto & Technology Co. begins testing a fleet of some 10 battery-electric Chevrolet Cruze/Daewoo Lacetti Premiere sedans in South Korea.

“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,” Rita Forst, vice president-engineering at Opel, says in a statement.

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

The demonstration Merivas feature a 60-kW 80-hp electric motor producing 159 lb.-ft. (215 Nm) of torque. The cars boast a range of 40 miles (64 km) and a top speed of 80 mph (130 km/h).

No concessions were made to the vehicles to accommodate their electrified powertrain, Forst says.

The cars also feature sophisticated electronic controls to permit smart recharging, when electricity from renewable sources is available or most economical. The car also can feed power back to the grid when not in use and its operator chooses.

The cars can use a typical 230-V household current to recharge, or a 400-V three phase AC.

GM says it could apply findings from the unique charging system for use on future EVs.

The first electric Meriva will service a recently built “smart home” at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Fraunhofer Institute for Systems Innovation research on the campus of Karlsruhe University in southwestern Germany.

The university equipped the 645-sq.-ft. (60-sq.-m) home with the usual appliances, such as a refrigerator, oven, dishwasher and washing machine, and it gets its power from a photovoltaic cell and a micro combined heat and power plant.

A charging station connects the Meriva as a storage unit to the local energy grid, and residents use their computer to distribute power between the home and the car.

German energy giant EnBW will put the remaining two Merivas into service on one of its campuses.