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Volkswagen forms energy, charging company

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Volkswagen forms energy, charging company

Volkswagen AG said Jan. 8 that it will establish a new company that will offer renewable energy and charging services for the group brands as well as to customers outside the group.

The new unit, called Elli Group GmbH, will be headquartered in Berlin with Thorsten Nicklaß as CEO.

Volkswagen's entry into the renewable energy business underscores the auto industry's growing reliance on electric energy as electric-car adoption increases.

"We will be creating a seamless, sustainable ecosystem that addresses the main applications and provides answers to all the energy questions raised by electric car users and fleet operators," Nicklaß said in a statement.

Nicklaß is the former CEO of Digital Energy Solutions, a joint venture between Volkswagen's German peer Bayerische Motoren Werke AG and industrial materials manufacturer Viessmann Werke GmbH & Co. KG.

Elli plans to gradually build a portfolio of intelligent power tariffs, Wallboxes, or home-charging stations, as well as an IT-based energy management system.

The group added that the energy unit will roll out a number of solutions that private and commercial e-mobility customers can use, including hardware, charging, digital services and advice packages, ahead of the market launch of Volkswagen ID, the group's first model based on the modular electric toolkit, in 2020. The group also plans electric cars under its Audi AG, Bentley Motors Ltd. and Porsche AG brands.

Elli will enable charging in public spaces through digital payment using a charging card with tailor-made tariffs.

"This way, we are entering a strategically relevant, extremely exciting business area that offers considerable opportunities for strengthening ties with existing customers as well as accessing entirely new customer groups," Thomas Ulbrich, Volkswagen brand board member responsible for e-Mobility, said.

Volkswagen recently partnered with British supermarket chain Tesco PLC to build the U.K.'s largest retail network of electric vehicle chargers.

In November 2018, the company's namesake brand committed to investing €30 billion through 2023 to mass produce cheaper electric cars, and another €14 billion to spend on autonomous driving technology, mobility services and digitalization.

Last month, Volkswagen's head of strategy, Michael Jost, said at an industry conference in Germany that the company is developing its last petrol and diesel cars as Volkswagen shifts to battery-electric cars.