Hubject may be a word without much meaning right now, but six German companies, including Daimler and BMW, want it to stand for easy-to-use, easy-to-access electromobility.

The two German automakers, along with Bosch, EnBW, RWE and Siemens, have created the hubject GmbH joint venture to build out a charging infrastructure in Germany that is standardized, open and integrated. Set to roll out with a test phase at the end of the summer, Hubject will "enable all future users of electromobility to access a nationwide charging infrastructure comfortably and securely." The network of chargers will be branded with a "compatibility logo" to let participating drivers know that their cars will work with the chargers while, behind the scenes, data will be shared to "create an integrated charging infrastructure for mobility and vehicle providers." Read: drivers will get billed the right amount no matter where they charge.

We've heard rumors in the past that some European automakers don't necessarily want to adopt the CHAdeMO fast-charging standard. The Hubject announcement doesn't specifically address this one way or the other – it just says, "The new enterprise is a deliberately open platform that aims to involve as many partners as possible" – which will likely continue to feed the rumor mill.
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New company creates basis for customer-friendly electromobility

Berlin, Mar 15, 2012

hubject GmbH joint venture set up
Development of an open data platform for roaming and clearing starts
Compatibility logo as distinctive identification feature for charge spots

A central element for the increasing expansion of electromobility in Germany is taking shape. To enable all future users of electromobility to access a nationwide charging infrastructure comfortably and securely, BMW Group, Bosch, Daimler, EnBW, RWE, and Siemens have formed a joint venture. Following the announcement of a memorandum of understanding to this effect in January, the six partners have now officially launched their joint venture.

Known as "hubject GmbH," the new company is based in Berlin. It considers itself a pioneer of electromobility. Its purpose is to develop and operate a data platform that will create an integrated charging infrastructure for mobility and vehicle providers. The new enterprise is a deliberately open platform that aims to involve as many partners as possible.

The market for electromobility in Germany is coming to life. The number of electric vehicles available is steadily increasing. This calls for an easily accessible, integrated charging infrastructure. And to ensure that customers can access this infrastructure simply, wherever they are, the diverse technologies in the electromobility market need to be linked.

What comes next? Besides the development of the technical platform, a distinctive compatibility logo will be designed. This charging infrastructure logo will show the customer that a charge spot belongs to the partner network. The aim of the logo is to create a high recognition value. It stands for process and billing security, as well as signifying trustworthiness and comfort for the end customer. All this is ensured by roaming and clearing services that run as a background process and are based on a software platform operated by hubject GmbH. So while being invoiced by just one individual contract partner, electromobility customers will be able to use different operators' charging infrastructures.

Making utilization of the charging infrastructure user-friendly will, it is hoped, help not only to further expand electromobility but also to make it more widely accepted by the general public. The test run of the new service platform in Germany is planned from the late summer.