Power without limits.
Power without limits.
Volkswagen is always on the lookout for ideas and concepts that make mobility even more convenient and practical. The Group thus also participates in the high-tech start-up Hubject. Thanks to the Berlin company’s intercharge network, locating charging points and charging your electric vehicle become child’s play.
Text from Phillip Bittner
Images from David Fischer
With its intercharge network, the Berlin company Hubject makes charging e-vehicles fantastically easy and possible nationwide. The magic word behind this is eRoaming. Thanks to intercharge, various suppliers around the world are available for customers to use – similar to mobile telephony. Thus the charging points of all partners work like a huge charging network, making it especially convenient to charge e-vehicles. This leads to the disappearance of national borders and system boundaries.
And this has many advantages for drivers of e-vehicles. The company, founded in 2012, in which Volkswagen Group is also involved, has woven the patchwork of various driving current providers into a comprehensive charging infrastructure. If your actual provider, such as in the case of the Volkswagen Charge & Fuel Card, is an intercharge partner, you can access the entire network with your access medium – be this an app or a card. As previously, payment then takes place conveniently via your own provider’s bill – regardless of where in the intercharge network the electricity flows into the battery.
For all owners of an e-vehicle without a driving current contract who predominantly use private connections and only rarely use public stations, Hubject also offers the direct-payment system intercharge direct. At charging points that support this offer, there is a so-called QR code. This is nothing more than an easily recognisable symbol that can be read by any smartphone without an additional app. The code opens a mobile website on the telephone, which provides information on the charging costs, and the duration of the charging process can be selected there. At the end, the customer pays the charging service online with common options such as a credit card or an online-payment service.
Hubject also collects the most relevant information and makes it available to the partners. This includes geographic data, the charging price, the capacity of the charging point, the available plugs and, of course, whether the charging station is occupied or not. Based on these data, the driving current providers can offer their customers a comprehensive real-time service that makes charging suitable for day-to-day use. E-vehicle drivers quickly find the next charging station in the intercharge network at all times.
Especially over short distances, such as in cities, the purely electric drive system is the ideal mobility solution. But trips outside the city are also no problem for the e-Golf because its combined range (WLTP) is 200 km.
With eRoaming, charging an e-vehicle is made as simple as possible for customers.
The charging process for charging points in the intercharge network can be initiated conveniently using the access medium of your own driving current supplier, such as with your smartphone. All charging points in the intercharge network are indicated on a map. In addition, the charging prices, the capacity of the charging points and the available plugs are listed for each station. And, of course, whether the charging station is occupied or not.
How Hubject works.
1. eRoaming All intercharge partner charging points work like a large, standardised charging network.
2. Charging Should a customer of an intercharge partner wish to charge their vehicle at another partner’s charging station, this request will be forwarded within a fraction of a second and authorisation will be verified in the system. In the event of a positive response, the hatch on the charging point opens and charging can commence.
3. Payment As previously, billing then takes place conveniently via your own provider’s bill – regardless of where in the intercharge network the electricity flows into the battery.
4. The journey continues!
But how does such a huge network come about? Hubject has developed an IT language that allows the systems to communicate with each other. This language is taught to each intercharge partner. It is also important to standardise the business and service processes, which Hubject also performs. The customer thus has the security of knowing that anywhere they see the intercharge logo, the same rules apply. This improves customer service in particular. In practice, this is how it works at a technical level: should a customer of an intercharge partner wish to charge their vehicle at another intercharge partner’s charging station, this request will be forwarded within a fraction of a second and authorisation will be verified in the system. In the event of a positive response, the hatch on the charging point opens and charging can commence.
A concept that not only brings advantages for the e-vehicle driver. Even the charging point and driving current providers benefit from intercharge. The number of potential customers grows and thus the use of the stations also increases. For the companies, it is ideal that, with each new intercharge partner, the network grows in size without them having to make contact with one another. So that the network can grow faster, Hubject has concluded framework contracts in Europe with almost all relevant manufacturers of charging stations and all suppliers of charging infrastructure, which will make new charging points “Hubject-ready” from the outset.
Hubject is creating a network that everyone can benefit from – both customers and the companies involved.
Intercharge currently brings together around 400 partners who contribute hard- and software to the charging infrastructure, of which 100 are driving current providers. In Germany, around 80 per cent of public charging access points are now part of the intercharge network. That equates to roughly 8,000 charging points nationwide. After the launch in Germany in 2013, other European countries and Japan followed suit. Worldwide, there are already more than 70,000 public-charging options that are part of the Hubject platform. The USA and China are next.
The Hubject recipe for success – absolute openness – should take hold here, too. With intercharge, everyone can take part, be they large or small. The result is a unique scalability on the market. Hubject is thus creating a network from which all companies involved can benefit.
And, ultimately, this helps e-vehicle owners. Because thanks to concepts like these and the resulting charging infrastructure, e-vehicles can achieve the status of individual and unrestricted freedom of mobility.
In 2017, the second generation of e-Golf technology came onto the market. Its range (WLTP) is 200 km. This makes the locally emission-free vehicle suitable for a large portion of professional commuters in Germany. Statistically, a large proportion of them travel less than 50 kilometres.1
1 According to a study by the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.
Information in accordance with directive 1999/94/EC as amended: further information on the official fuel consumption and the official specific CO₂ emissions of new cars can be found in the “Guide on the fuel economy, CO₂ emissions and power consumption of new passenger cars” available free of charge at all points of sale and from DAT Deutsche Automobil Treuhand GmbH, Hellmuth-Hirth-Strasse 1, D-73760 Ostfildern, Germany, or at www.dat.de.
e-up! energy consumption in kWh/100 km: 11,7 (combined); CO₂ emission in g/km: 0 (combined); efficiency class: A+.