The Financial Times Deutschland said that Volkswagen and its subsidiary Audi were leading a charge among carmakers to start becoming producers and suppliers of renewable energy.
Audi announced on Thursday evening it would invest in four large wind turbines at a cost of tens of millions of euros. The company declined to say who its partner would be, but the FTD reported that talks were underway with Bard, which runs the Borkum offshore wind farm.
“There are talks taking place at the moment,” a source in the wind power industry told the FTD.
Audi project leader Reiner Mangold told FTD: “We will produce electricity, hydrogen and methane gas – the fuels for our cars.”
However the paper reported that Audi’s parent VW also aimed to become a supplier of renewable energy and to sell the power to its customers as fuel for new, green car models.
The idea is to sell customers a package of the car plus the fuel to run it. With political pressure for the introduction of green cars rising, VW and Audi wanted to take advantage of the chance to tailor a package for their customers, FTD reported.
VW is planning to bring its electric car, Up!, to the market by 2013. It aims to take the leading role in e-mobility efforts.
The firm is also planning to step up its own use of renewable energy at its production facilities such as its plant at Emden in Germany’s far northwest.
“The example of Audi shows that the traditional business model of the automaker can really change through e-mobility,” Willi Diez of the Institute for Automotive Research in Geislingen told FTD. “The acceptance of electric cars depends on environmentally friendly electricity.”
An Audi spokesman told the paper: “Our early experience is that the customer wants a complete package.”