General Motors and Spanish energy company Iberdrola have joined forces to determine what is needed in terms of infrastructure to implement a mass embrace of plug-in electric vehicles in the European market. The study will examine how cars will be recharged, and the effect this will have on marketing them to consumers, as well as determining their large-scale viability. The study underlines GM’s desire to expand its plug-in hybrid program into Europe, as the upcoming Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is destined to be sold on both sides of the Atlantic.

The study will take place in Spain and the UK, and reportedly will focus on issues such as the location requirements for plug-in sockets in private and public areas, parking systems, and installing electricity meters. The study, if successful, will see GM and Iberdrola work with a number of different European governments to implement recommendations and changes to facilitate a large scale roll out of plug-in electric vehicles.

While the study is being conducted by two private companies, any changes implemented should be beneficial to all major car manufacturers rolling out plug-in electric vehicles. Currently, GM's Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid is the company's last ditch effort to strike a chord with the environmentally conscious buying public, and other companies such as Toyota, Mitsubishi, Fisker and even Chinese companies such as BYD are all developing similar vehicles.

One expert for the Electric Power Research Insititute (EPRI) stated last month that most Western electricity grids can already handle the load if there is a 60% adoption rate of plug-in vehicles by 2050. This adoption rate is reportedly on the higher side of estimates, which should give the public even more confidence in the grid.

Once the Volt has been successfully launched and consumers adhere to the technology, GM plans to launch several other plug-in hybrid vehicles based on the same E-Flex technology underpinning the Volt. Expect to see models launched under the Opel brand and possibly even Cadillac.