The post-Dieselgate push towards e-mobility continues.
Volkswagen has bought into “eRoaming” provider Hubject GmbH as part of its push to become one of the world’s leaders in zero emissions mobility.
Hubject describes itself as “the biggest international, digital, business-to-business market place for services related to the charging of electric vehicles”. Essentially, it is a mapping and payment platform that gives users access to charging points operated by different companies, a system it calls “interchange”. A total of 40,000 charging points in a number of countries on three continents are connected to the interchange, but Hubject does not actually operate any of them.
The Berlin-based company was founded in 2012, with investment from automakers BMW and Daimler, electronics giants Bosch and Siemens, and energy providers EnBW and Innogy.
Following the Dieselgate emissions cheating debacle, Volkswagen has made an abrupt turn away from diesel-powered vehicles to EVs. Indeed, it wants to move beyond the business of producing and selling cars and become an all-encompassing “mobility provider”. Just within the last couple of weeks, VW detailed its new, dedicated mobility company, Moia, that will provide ride-sharing and shuttle services using a bespoke EV. And it announced plans to construct a cross-country rapid charging network in United States, a $2 billion provision included in the Dieselgate settlement.
Buying into Hubject could also be seen as continuing VW’s atonement for Dieselgate. A statement from the company said that, with the investment “Volkswagen Group is emphasizing its commitment to making e-mobility available to the mass-market and to systematically expanding the infrastructure.”
VW plans to launch 30 EVs by 2025, so it is in VW’s interest to ensure there is as big a charging infrastructure as possible. The relative lack of charging points is by far the biggest hinderance to EV sales at the moment.
VW’s chief strategist, Thomas Sedran, said: “We have set out sights on becoming a globally leading provider in the field of sustainable mobility. With out investment in Hubject we are supporting the digital transformation and making an important contribution to the transition to the era of e-mobility.”