Volkswagen snaps up stake in EV charging tech firm Hubject

The automaker is betting big on new technologies to put old scandals to rest.

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Volkswagen

Volkswagen has taken a stake in electric vehicle (EV) charging specialist Hubject as the firm looks towards new technologies and the evolving EV market.

On December 15, the German automaker revealed that it is joining the eRoaming platform as a shareholder, becoming the seventh investor alongside companies BMW, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, innogy, and Siemens.

Hubject, founded in 2012, offers an "eRoaming" platform which aims to connect up EV charging stations and unify overall charging infrastructure for better mapping and easier payment solutions.

In 2013 Hubject launched "intercharge," a connectivity solution which brings charging stations together with the aim of "providing EV drivers with easy access to charging stations as well as payment solutions." There are almost 40,000 charging points on three continents currently linked up to the platform.

The financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

In a statement, Hubject said the investment highlights Volkswagen's "commitment to making e-mobility available to the mass-market and to systematically expanding the infrastructure" required for charging stations.

Volkswagen plans to begin mapping out EV charging stations across Europe in early 2017 alongside other shareholders.

By unifying and promoting charging station infrastructure across European countries, this may entice consumers to invest in EVs, of which the uptake has been slow due to the limited range of these vehicles and a lack of charging support across major towns and cities.

"We have set our sights on becoming a globally leading provider in the field of sustainable mobility," said Thomas Sedran, head of group strategy at Volkswagen. "With our investment in Hubject we are supporting the digital transformation and making an important contribution to the transition to the era of e-mobility."

See also: Volkswagen launches new cybersecurity firm to tackle car security

The deal makes sense especially as Volkswagen is planning to launch 30 new electric vehicles by 2025. Following the defeat device scandal which has cost the company billions in fines and repairs after it was discovered that Volkswagen vehicles were tailored to dupe emissions tests and failed to adhere to regulations set by government bodies, the automaker could do with a more positive reputation in greener technologies.

"We now have seven strong shareholders from three sectors of industry, which gives us the ideal basis for systematically pursuing our growth course in e-mobility," says Christian Hahn, CEO of Hubject. "We are excited about this future-oriented collaboration together with the Volkswagen Group. And we remain open to welcoming further new international shareholders in the future."

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