Volvo invests in Freewire
Volvo Cars has announced an investment in Freewire Technologies, a company that emphasizes mobile charging solutions.
Freewire earlier this year attracted a $5 million investment from the petro-giant BP, which will result in Freewire’s fast-charging systems being installed at some BP stations in the UK and Europe—effectively helping fill in gaps between established charging stations.
“FreeWire’s fast charging technology holds great promise to simplify the experience for customers of electrified Volvos,” said Atif Rafiq, chief digital officer at Volvo Cars. “With this move, we aim to make the future of sustainable, electric cars more practical and convenient.”
Volvo plans to greatly increase the number of plug-in models. A fully electric model is on the way in 2020, and it’s said that every new Volvo car launched starting in 2019 will be electrified, with at least a hybrid or plug-in hybrid version. By 2025 it aims for half of its global sales to be of fully electric cars.
Volvo sees the partnership as a way of supporting the transition to electric without direct ownership of charging stations. Investment in the company comes from the Volvo Cars Tech Fund, a Volvo Cars venture fund based at Volvo’s R&D center in Mountain View, California. Freewire is based in neighboring San Leandro.
Freewire’s latest Mobi Gen chargers are on wheels, have a capacity of 80 kwh, and can deliver 15 kw of charging power over five hours—good for charging up two or three smaller EVs or topping off many more.
It’s developing some models that could deliver higher-power DC fast charging and serve as a road-trip backup solution—one that could itself be charged slowly during off-peak times and avoid expensive demand charges.