It seems as though Karmann won't let a little thing like bankruptcy get in the way of its plans to move forward with new electro-car work. As part of a venture undertaken with German energy and communications company the Oldenburg Energy Group (EWE), the iconic maker of Ghias, Crossfires and cabriolets has penned a new design that will be unveiled at the Hannover Messe 2009 (Hanover Trade Fair) next week. Called the E3, the vehicle will sport an EWE nameplate and is being described as a "sports-limousine." When the curtain is pulled back, we are expecting to see the smallest limo one might imagine as EWE says the concept study is built on a scale of 1:2. That's half-size for those of us with math allergies.

Although EWE doesn't see itself as an electric car maker in the near term, it is very interested in exploring the possibilities of using thousands of batteries on wheels to store renewable but intermittent wind and solar energy. The E3 is the first of 4 to 6 vehicles planned that will help them learn how their communication and networking tech can be integrated into automobiles to achieve that storage goal. This little electric limo isn't the only battery-powered car in Karmann's future. If it manages to keep the doors open, it is scheduled to build the Quicc! DiVa for Duracar this summer. Hit the jump for a press release about the partnership between the two companies.

[Source: EWE / TecZilla]

PRESS RELEASE:

EWE and Karmann conclude partnership
Strategic cooperation in electric mobility sector / Minister President Wulff: "Cooperation has a signal effect"

Berlin/Oldenburg/Osnabrück, Germany, 28 January 2009. The Oldenburg energy Group EWE and Wilhelm Karmann GmbH in Osnabrück will in future be working together in the electric mobility sector. The two companies from Lower Saxony will explore the integration of electric vehicles into the EWE electricity and telecommunications network and the issue of how intelligent control systems can be used for battery and network management. This was announced today by Dr. Werner Brinker, Chief Executive Officer of EWE AG, and Peter Harbig, Board spokesman for Wilhelm Karmann GmbH, in the presence of Lower Saxony's Minister President, Christian Wulff. The strategic partnership will run until 2012 and include several research projects.

"Electric vehicles are the future. Together with our partner Karmann, we wish to develop and implement concrete ideas on electric mobility and network integration. On the one hand, we can enable a form of motorised mobility that is environmentally-friendly and on the other, we can make a decisive contribution towards the development of portable electricity storage units as a component of the future energy supply," explained Dr. Brinker. With over 100 years of experience in vehicle development, Karmann is the right partner for just such a challenge.

"This strategic partnership continues Karmann's consistent development of the growth sector of vehicle development. Together with EWE, we will develop sustainable power and battery technologies, which are the essential requirements for creating successful electric mobility," said Harbig.

Lower Saxony's Minister President Christian Wulff was pleased about the joint commitment: "In the past, EWE and Karmann have both taken a leading role in their respective sectors. This forward-looking cooperation has a signal effect. We need companies just such as these, ones which look beyond their own horizons, in order to safeguard Lower Saxony as a business location."

With its expertise for developing and producing complete vehicles, Karmann will build between four and six vehicles for its systems partner EWE between 2009 and 2011, which will be tested in the EWE network area. The first prototype vehicle is to be delivered in September 2009. "The EWE vehicles are designed to provide field experience. These are experimental vehicles for our joint research purposes," stressed Harbig. Consortium leader EWE is managing the project and financing the development of the vehicle prototypes as a one-time investment. No information was provided by the companies with regard to the amount of the investment. The project partners have applied for a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology for the research into battery management and the information technology necessary for the exchange of data with the charging station.

The goal of the partnership is to develop and implement hardware and software that ensures functioning communication between the vehicles, customers and energy suppliers. This will allow the introduction of a non-location based settlement system, which will make energy provision for the battery independent of the EWE network possible.

About EWE

EWE ranks among Germany's largest energy services companies and is headquartered in Oldenburg in the federal state of Lower Saxony. The group's business ctivities comprise electricity, natural gas and water supply, energy and environmental technology as well as gas transmission and trade, telecommunication and information technology. EWE thus offers one-stop classic and innovative services. The EWE network infrastructure is characterized by high technical quality, security of supply and economically efficient operation. EWE was quick to develop its core competences to operate complex networks and to expand its comprehensive know-how in remote control and regulatory systems into a future-focused multi-service range of products. In addition to its activities in its home region between the Ems, Weser, and Elbe rivers, EWE continues to expand its operations in Eastern Germany, Poland and Turkey. In 2007, the EWE Group employed around 4,700 people and recorded sales of €4,7 billion.

About Karmann

The Karmann Group currently employs around 5,000 employees at six locations worldwide and in 2007 achieved sales of € 1.5bn. Karmann develops and builds complete vehicles, particularly specialty vehicles such as convertibles and coupés, as well as vehicle modules such as car bodies and roof systems.






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