Despite losing lucrative contracts to build cars such as the Chrysler Crossfire and the Audi A4 Cabrio last year, Germany's largest independent automotive supplier and manufacturer, Karmann, is still in business. Today the company announced a partnership with the Oldenburg Energy Group (EWE) to build electric-powered concepts.

The two companies have stated that their goal is to "explore the integration of electric vehicles into the EWE electricity and telecommunications network", and the first fruits of this partnership will bear in the form of the 'sports-limousine' E3 concept. The vehicle will be just one of a series of concepts that the partnerships hopes to construct, with a view to developing and implementing "concrete ideas on electric mobility and network integration".

If that sounds like a lot of marketing-speak to you as well, it may be because in the short-term both companies are a little unsure of what direction they are going to take. Karmann, while it does specialize in vehicle development, does not have much experience in the way of electric powertrains, while EWE, Germany's largest energy services company, has little to do in the automotive industry in terms of vehicle development.

In a way, both companies' different expertise areas should complement their endeavors, but for now their partnership will be focusing on developing ideas about how to use electric vehicles rather than specific electric vehicles with a production outlook. As EWE themselves stated, the upcoming lineup of electric concepts are designed to provide field experience. These are experimental vehicles for our joint research purposes.

In this vein, the new E3 sports-limousine is set to be unveiled at the Hannover 2009 Trade Fair in September, where it will be making its appearance as a half-sized model. Despite its lack of real development, as an ideas base the E3 should be interesting - especially considering that both companies involved are not looking to sell a product for now, but instead examining the bigger picture of how electric energy and automobiles will be interacting in the future on a large scale.