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Volkswagen challenges Tesla with EV charging, electricity unit

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Volkswagen challenges Tesla with EV charging, electricity unit

MUNICH — Volkswagen Group is challenging Tesla’s push into energy services by setting up its own charging and electricity unit.

VW hopes the new business unit, called Elli Group, will make the automaker’s upcoming battery-powered cars more attractive to buyers.

The Berlin-based business will supply households with renewable power and charging systems, and offer infrastructure for offices and shopping centers.

Elli’s portfolio will take shape over the course of this year, with the launch timed to coincide with the rollout of VW’s I.D. electric subbrand in 2020.

German automakers are changing their stance on building more of the charging infrastructure need to make EVs attractive.  Patchy charging infrastructure remains one of the key obstacles to selling more EVs that can take hours to charge.

Ionity, a joint venture between VW, Daimler, Ford and BMW, promises to have 400 stations in Europe by 2020, but has only about 37 stations operable currently.

Tesla has its own network for superchargers and also offers solar panels and energy storage equipment for homes.

European automakers need to step up their game to boost tepid uptake of electric cars to comply with more stringent regulations for carbon-dioxide emissions.

The European Union agreed on yet tighter caps from 2030 in December, which will likely prod VW to top up its EV spending plan.

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