Volkswagen may work with Germany-based solar-power equipment-maker SMA Solar on a project that would involve home energy-storage systems that can be used to recharge electric vehicles, Reuters says. SMA Solar has worked with Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler as well as Tesla Motors on storage technology, so its collaboration with an automaker wouldn't be a first. An SMA Solar spokesman declined to disclose specifics, saying it was too soon to talk details. A VW spokesperson also declined to comment, according to Reuters.

Solar energy or not, Volkswagen is looking to further distance itself from the diesel-vehicle scandal involving software that cheated emissions-testing systems. VW committed to invest billions of dollars in battery-electric, zero-emissions powertrains as it retracts from the diesel sector. The German automaker, which built about 67,000 plug-in vehicles last year, is planning to introduce as many as 30 electric-vehicle models within the next decade. VW may also be planning its own version of the massive Gigafactory that Tesla is building near Reno, Nevada, in order to facilitate larger battery-production capacity and cut electric-vehicle costs as a result.

VW's $14.7 billion settlement with US regulators includes a provision that entails the automaker investing $2 billion in plug-in vehicle recharging infrastructure. Those plans have spurred more than two-dozen charging-industry companies to band together to further investigate the settlement because of fears over increased competition.

Tesla, which also makes the Powerwall energy-storage system, earlier this month reached an agreement to acquire SolarCity for $2.6 billion in order to create what the two companies are calling "the world's only vertically integrated sustainable energy company."

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