Volkswagen is expanding its activities in the field of charging infrastructure and is to cooperate closely with ‘has·to·be GmbH’, a leading provider of operating systems for e-mobility.
Volkswagen Group company, Elli is to acquire a minority stake in the company. Together, has·to·be and Volkswagen will forge ahead with the expansion of the pan-European charging network and participate in the rapidly growing market for charging solutions. Some of the Group’s own charging stations are already operating using has·to·be software and are therefore part of a holistic, integrated charging ecosystem.
Thorsten Nicklass, CEO Elli (left) and Martin Klässner, CEO has-to-be GmbH (right)
“Simple and convenient charging is essential for the rapid breakthrough of e-mobility. We not only need more charging stations; they must also be networked and function in an intelligent way. Charging an electric car must be just as commonplace as charging a smart phone,” says Thomas Ulbrich, Member of the Board of Management of the Volkswagen brand responsible for E- Mobility. “Together with has·to·be, we want to open up and develop the rapidly growing business area of charging infrastructure. We will also be using has·to·be software ourselves. Throughout the Group, we will be installing about 36,000 charging points throughout Europe up to 2025. In future, charging will therefore be quicker and more convenient.”
With over 70 employees from 10 nations, has·to·be GmbH manages more than 16,000 charging points, not only in Europe but also throughout the world – from Norway to Australia and from the UK to Taiwan. The company’s history started six years ago with Audi in Ingolstadt as the first customer. Since then, sales revenue has at least doubled every year – especially as a result of strong demand in Germany and Switzerland. Now, the company’s customers range from the automotive industry through energy suppliers to industrial companies. The company’s major reference is IONITY, Europe’s largest fast charging network, a joint venture of the BMW Group, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and the Volkswagen Group with Audi and Porsche. By the end of 2020, IONITY plans to build a total of 400 fast charging facilities along major highways in Europe. All the charging stations use has·to·be software.
Company founder Martin Klässner already made a prototype charging station in his garage 11 years ago. Pioneer Klässner recognized the potential of software development for charging infra- structure at an early stage. Now, the has·to·be founder is convinced: “Cooperation with the Volkswagen Group, which is committed more strongly to this technology than any other au- tomaker, will be a key element in shaping the future of e-mobility. With Volkswagen on board, we will forge ahead with e-mobility in Europe and beyond.”
Networking energy and mobility
Via its subsidiary Elli, the Volkswagen Group is acquiring about a quarter of the shares in has·to·be GmbH. Thorsten Nicklass, CEO of Elli, says: “Elli has set itself the goal of digitally networking the topics of energy and mobility. We want to make charging simple and affordable and to establish our company as a reliable partner for innovative, sustainable energy solutions connected with electric vehicles. With our participation in has·to·be, we are now laying the foundation for a seamless customer experience during charging and for the integration of further digital services of the Volkswagen Group. This participation is a further consistent step in our strategy for the intelligent networking of charging and energy.
Volkswagen intends to bring e-mobility forward to a worldwide breakthrough and is pursuing the largest electric offensive in the automotive industry. By 2028, the Group will be launching almost 70 new full-electric models on the market. In the next five years alone, Volkswagen will be investing more than €30 billion in these efforts. In addition to attractive models, the electric offensive also includes smart charging solutions, energy offerings and digital mobility services.