within your budget? You may not have to wait too long, according a group of engineers at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), who are aiming to halve plug-in manufacturing costs by 2018. It's all part of something called Competence E -- a €200 million ($273 million) initiative that will draw upon the expertise of 250 scientists from 25 different institutes, in the hopes of creating new and more cost-effective methods of producing power trains and batteries. Under the publicly funded project, which was announced at last week's International Motor Show, KIT's researchers will construct a "research factory" where they'll develop and demonstrate their processes and technologies. According to project leader Andreas Gutsch, the idea isn't to create concepts that could bear fruit a few decades down the road, but to develop more pragmatic solutions that can be integrated at the industrial level within a relatively short time frame. "We are no longer focused on studying individual molecules or components, but on developing solutions on the system level, which meet industrial requirements," Gutsch told Science|Business. "We are actively approaching industry and will even intensify these efforts...We are conducting excellent research for application, not for the drawer." A full 50 engineers will begin working on Competence E next year, with the project scheduled to wrap up by 2018. Purr past the break for more details, in the full press release.