A new study out of Germany suggests adopting a modular approach to battery offerings in plug-in hybrid and extended range electric vehicles. Automakers could offer the same car with different battery sizes (and different costs, accordingly) to drivers depending on their driving ranges. This would optimize the total cost of ownership for various drivers better than the current approach. Developing a modular battery design and offering appropriate batteries for different customers "is the key for electric powertrains to meet customer expectations and become cost competitive against conventional technologies," according to the report from the Institute of Vehicle Concepts, German Aerospace Center. Learn more at Green Car Congress.
Jaguar and Land Rover are looking to offer more electric driving from their vehicles. Wolfgang Ziebart, head of product development for Jaguar Land Rover, said in an interview that its hybrid system is being tweaked for more electric power and "downsized" combustion. He also said the likely target market for EVs would be second and third vehicles, rather than primary vehicles for urban driving. Within that market, Europeans look for something smaller, while American drivers lean toward larger luxury vehicles for their second car. Ziebart uses the Tesla Model S as an example of American tastes, and compares its size to that of the Jaguar XJ. Read more at Automotive News Europe.
Thailand will likely approve a Volkswagen factory as early as next week. A German newspaper suggests that Thailand's Board of Investment is set to greenlight the plant, which is planned for a site near the Port of Bangkok. Thailand is a relatively large and growing auto manufacturing country, which seeks to be a major producer of eco-friendly vehicles. The country's "Eco2" program would provide incentives to Volkswagen if it builds clean cars and meets certain production targets. Read more at Reuters.
Formula E has chosen Sky Deutschland for broadcasting rights in the German market. The deal includes television rights, as well as online broadcasting. Sky Deutschland has 3.8 million subscribers in Germany and Austria. Showing the races on Germany's largest pay television provider should help generate interest for the series, particularly the Berlin ePrix - the inaugural season's penultimate race - scheduled for May 30, 2015. Read more at the Formula E website.