BERLIN - Volkswagen's EV charging unit Elli has partnered with Norway's Otovo to offer Huawei equipment that lets customers connect their cars with solar and storage systems at home in order to cut power bills.

The partnership marks the latest move by Volkswagen along the energy sector's value chain, already covering wallboxes, power tariffs as well as access to more than 700,000 public charging spots across Europe.

Norway's Otovo, founded in 2016, essentially functions like a marketplace where homeowners can order equipment, including solar panels and batteries, as well as their installations in 13 markets across the continent.

The rationale of the deal is to beef up Elli's services tied to its new wallbox, while exposing Otovo to the client base of Europe's largest carmaker, the chief executives of both businesses told Reuters.

"In terms of EV sales, if you look at the list of the markets Otovo is in, they actually cover 70%, 80% of the entire European volume," Elli CEO Giovanni Palazzo said.

Combining wallboxes and photovoltaic systems by using home storage can cut costs to charge electric vehicles by up to 40%, the companies estimate.

The partnership will start out by integrating Huawei inverters, which convert direct current into alternate current, as well as battery storage systems by the Chinese companies, Otovo CEO and founder Andreas Thorsheim said.

That, he said, was key in building an ecosystem for EV drivers that exists "around the vehicle when it's in its garage and can get its power directly from the home and the roof".

The partnership comes as demand for EVs has lost momentum, causing expansion plans by major European carmakers to be adjusted or delayed to ensure capital allocation.

Palazzo still argued that such a move at this time could help accelerate the expansion, which has been hampered by high prices, range anxiety and a lack of affordable models.

Otovo's Thorsheim agreed.

"If you miss a beat in this market, you're going to lag far behind. It's really a time to be on the attack."

(Reporting by Christoph Steitz; editing by David Evans)