by Eric Cohen
With the expansion of the EV market and continued interest in wireless charging, Hubert Wolters recently joined WiTricity as Vice President of Business Development in Europe. In an intimate interview, I had the opportunity to get to know Hubert.
Eric: It’s really great to meet you, Hubert. With such a broad background, it’s likely that many of our customers may already know you. But, for those who don’t, can you tell them something about your background, education, career and what would you like them to know about you?
Hubert: From a professional side, I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in physics engineering from the University of Applied Sciences (Muenster, Germany). While living in the United States for 7 years, I got my MBA from San Francisco State University. I was a microchip designer for 5 years and worked in the semiconductor industry for around 16 years, seven of which were in Silicon Valley. I eventually moved to sales and marketing, new market development, and general management – in global automotive and mobility, electrical energy storage, energy generation, and semiconductors. My broad background gave me the opportunity to gain a strategic perspective in fast-growing markets while creating a systematic approach to winning these markets. I have a passion for high-tech and am always focused on megatrends and the next “big thing.” That’s why I love WiTricity (but more about that later!).
Eric: I assume you have a life out of work. How do you like to spend your time?
Hubert: With my family, wife and four sons (some with their girlfriends) and the dog my non-work life is very busy! The boys are all studying at the Technical University in Munich – three in electrical engineering and one in biotech. I enjoy books about human history, evolution, scientific revolutions, the future, and innovations. In regards to sports, I used to run a lot (I also ran marathon distances, but many years ag, my wife took over this part); it was tough keeping up with it during my 13 years of extensive business traveling and weekend commuting. The plus side of the business trips and commuting was that they fed my love of travel. I enjoy getting to know different cultures around the world, gain new perspectives, meet new people, and discover a world outside Munich and Germany
Eric: Since you’re now at WiTricity, did you always have an interest in cars?
Hubert: Not necessarily just cars. I grew up in the country with motorcycles and other means of transportation – even a gasoline-powered go-kart that my brothers and I built. I admit, later, I was more of a nerd who focused on electronics. In fact, my first cars were less-expensive vehicles (VW Golf and similar) but over the years, I improved, I’ve driven a variety of cars. One key experience changed my view on transportation. I remember, when I was younger, sitting in a traffic jam in a big city and seeing exhaust coming out of the cars in front of me and from a truck beside me. I thought, “someday, in the future, people will not understand that we blew this pollution into our faces.” That started to focus my attention on green energy and sustainability. Then, when Tesla released its first electric vehicles, I knew that was the game changer so started working with Tesla and many other electric vehicle manufacturers and suppliers.
Eric: What brought you to WiTricity and why are you excited about it?
Hubert: I’ve been in batteries, e-engines, and onboard charging for many years. Although wireless charging has been talked about for years, the market wasn’t ready for it … until now. As I see it, all the key challenges have been removed:
- Automotive wireless charging standards – WiTricity customers and partners have been successful in establishing automotive wireless standards covering interoperability and safety.
- Charging efficiency – wireless charging has reached levels of up to 93%, which is comparable with plug-in charging
- Affordability – WiTricity and its partners are productizing affordable wireless charging systems for the infrastructure as well as for EVs
- First Mover / Reference Customers – The first automotive OEMs have signed up and are introducing the technology in new EV series production. Also, large infrastructure players like Siemens e-Mobility & Infrastructure jumped onto the bandwagon as a strategic investor and supplier to the market.
I’ve been following WiTricity and watching the emerging market. I’m excited to join!
Eric: What do you see as the impact of wireless charging on our environment and society?
Hubert: Together, with sustainable energy generation and transportation, wireless charging will make a significant contribution to enabling a sustainable energy future. It will improve the quality of our lives by accelerating sustainability. It simplifies everyday life. And it’s clean, efficient, and safe. Our future is bright.