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Volkswagen looks to brighten up electric car sales with solar panels

The company logo shines off the grille of an unsold 2023 electric ID.4 sports-utility vehicle at a Volkswagen dealership Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Denver.
The company logo shines off the grille of an unsold 2023 electric ID.4 sports-utility vehicle at a Volkswagen dealership Sunday, March 17, 2024, in Denver. Copyright David Zalubowski/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
Copyright David Zalubowski/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.
By Vincent Vitis
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Volkswagen is aiming to increase its appeal to EV customers by offering them the chance of taking a solar panel deal to cut the cost of recharging.

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Volkswagen is to offer a solar panel deal alongside chargers for its electric cars.

The German car maker says that will cut drivers' costs by some 40% because they will be able to use excess solar energy to recharge their electric vehicles.

That figure is based on an estimate from UK energy efficiency organisation the Energy Saving Trust which says the average household can expect to pay around £7,000 (€8,200) for a 3.5 kWh solar panel system at peak times.

The VW collaboration is with Norwegian solar panel installer Otovo. The company was started in 2016 and has more than 20,000 photovoltaic installations in 13 European countries, including France and the UK. Customers would need to use the company when they bought the car maker's charger.

VW was quoted in the Telegraph as saying: "An electric car is only as green as the electricity it uses, and solar power is one of the most cost-effective energy sources that homeowners can currently use to achieve the mobility and energy transition at home."

A win-win deal for both seller and consumer?

VW already sells chargers under its Elli brand and has launched the Elli 2 charger, which uses software to recharge electric vehicles when there is excess energy from solar panels or when electricity prices are low, making it cheaper for owners.

Elli CEO Giovanni Palazzo explained the tie-up was aimed at making charging "more accessible and cost-effective for customers".

He added: "The partnership with Otovo is not only an important signal for the charging and energy business in Germany and Europe, but especially for the intelligent integration of mobility and energy transition at home."

Otovo CEO Andreas Thorsheim said: "We are very pleased with this important milestone and pioneering cooperation.

"This partnership allows us to directly demonstrate the benefits of our photovoltaic systems and significantly expand our market potential."

The announcement of the partnership deal between VW and Otovo comes at a time when the European car-making market is growing increasingly concerned about rising competition from the Chinese car market as it seeks to gain ground in Europe.

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