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Late last year, Volkswagen took a big step towards closing the loop between EV driving and total carbon neutrality.
The company’s Elli subsidiary, which provides home chargers for drivers, as well as access to more than 250,000 public charging points across Europe, launched its own home energy tariff: Volkswagen Naturstrom Connect.
This new tariff should give EV drivers peace of mind about how their vehicles (and homes) are powered. But how does it work? And can Elli be absolutely certain of its eco-credentials? Auto Futures spoke to Chief Commercial Office Simon Löffler to find out more.
Can you explain what the tariff will bring to consumers that existing solutions aren’t offering?
“On the way to CO2-neutral electromobility, the synchronisation of charging sessions with the varying availability of renewable energies will be necessary. This is where the app-based control of the Volkswagen Naturstrom Connect tariff comes into play. Electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids are preferably charged when a surplus of renewable energies is produced that cannot otherwise be consumed.
This means that customers not only behave in a CO2-neutral manner, but they can also influence the composition of the energy mix – towards wind and sun, away from coal and natural gas.
The resulting CO2 avoidance has been certified by TÜV Rheinland. And unlike other solutions on the market, we do this without expensive smart meters. This is really unique to date. It is a typical Volkswagen Product: easy to use and made for everybody.”
What motivated the company to create the new tariff?
“The ID. Models are delivered to customers CO2 neutral on the balance sheet. But most of the CO2 emissions are emitted afterwards, during operation. Unless you use green electricity. By choosing our green electricity tariff, customers can ensure that their mobility stays CO2 neutral.
This also means that individual mobility without CO2 emissions is already possible today. An important step towards a decarbonized society. That is why we are offering our intelligent Volkswagen Naturstrom Connect tariff.”
Can you ensure that the energy is coming from sustainable sources?
“Elli guarantees the supply of green electricity for your entire household and your vehicle. The green quality is certified by TÜV Nord. On top of the CO2 avoidance from the improvement of the German energy mix increases the sustainability balance of our Connect Tariff.”
How did the partnership with ev.energy come about?
“The partnership between Elli and ev.energy has been initiated within the Incubator Program of the ‘Gläserne Manufaktur’ in Dresden.”
Do you think that other companies will start creating similar tariffs?
“On the one hand, we need simple charging solutions to lower the entry barriers to e-mobility.
“But on the other hand, the tariff was a logical step that enables our customers to use their BEV in a CO2-neutral way and at the same time to be part of the energy transition. We combined both within the Volkswagen Naturstrom Connect tariff and hope to encourage our competitors to follow.”
How have consumers reacted to the tariff so far?
“We are quite satisfied with the initial customer feedback. Even more important, we have stable operations and a solid product. Sales campaigns for a broader public will start in 2022.”
How long will it take for dynamic, responsive charging to become standard within the industry?
“It depends on the requirements in the various markets. But in general, politicians and authorities are called upon to create the right framework conditions on intelligent, bidirectional charging solutions.
“Some countries already have more advanced regulations, such as the UK, for instance. By integrating the BEVs’ batteries as flexible storage systems into the grid, we believe that the share of renewable energies can be expanded and the grid can be supported at the same time.”