FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Germany’s Hubject, which is developing a method to map and pay at electric charging stations, has secured fresh funding from shareholders to expand into the world’s leading car markets in the United States and China, it said on Monday.
The need to build, improve and access infrastructure for electric vehicles is seen as a key obstacle for the industry to take off.
The company did not specify how much money it had raised, only saying the investment, the second within a year, was worth millions of euros.
Hubject has more than 61,000 charging points for electric vehicles in its database, mostly in Europe and Japan, and the fresh funding gives it the resources to expand. It has already set up a subsidiary in the United States.
“In China and the United States, too, complex access and payment systems are hindering advances in e-mobility – a large number of non-standardized charging networks makes it difficult to ensure a smooth charging process,” Hubject said.
In China, the group is currently looking for a partner to set up a joint venture, a pre-condition for foreign companies to do business there, co-Chief Executive Thomas Daiber told Reuters.
Owned by a group of carmakers, automotive suppliers, engineering groups and utilities, Hubject’s shareholder structure reflects the numerous sectors expected to be affected by a pickup in demand for electric vehicles.
Hubject’s seven owners include Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE), Daimler (DAIGn.DE), BMW (BMWG.DE), Siemens (SIEGn.DE), Bosch [ROBG.UL], Innogy (IGY.DE) and EnBW (EBKG.DE), which are all banking on the industry’s shift away from combustion engines.
Like rivals such as France’s Gireve and e-clearing.net, Hubject is trying to establish its service as the standard payment system for charging stations.
Companies also map the stations and supply drivers with information about locations and availability, provided they have a working internet connection.
Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle