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Volvo invests in FreeWire to bolster mobile EV charging development

FreeWire's primary product right now is a mobile Level 2 charger.

Having a fleet of mobile chargers will make it much easier to make a parking structure, for example, attractive to current and potential EV owners.

Volvo

Some automakers might establish their own EV charging networks, but most would rather invest in the right companies than attempt to dip their toes into infrastructure development. Volvo's latest investment goes along those lines, but the infrastructure in question is on wheels.

Volvo Cars announced on Wednesday that it has purchased a stake in FreeWire, a startup dedicated to mobile EV charging solutions. Volvo was quick to note that it "does not envision direct ownership of charging or service stations," it's just an investment that gives extra resources to a company that Volvo believes in.

FreeWire's primary product right now is the Mobi Charger. It's basically a Level 2 charger on casters, offering mobile charging to EVs no matter where they're parked. It can be plugged into a 240-volt (dryer) outlet and used as a stationary charger, or it can be juiced up and then wheeled somewhere else. This could be a huge benefit for EV owners who park in places where charging spots are limited or otherwise nonexistent.

Volvo's wise to invest in a company like this, because it's in the process of going all-in on electrification. Every new Volvo introduced from 2019 will offer electrification to some degree, whether that means a hybrid powertrain option or a battery-electric one. By 2025, Volvo hopes that battery-electric vehicle will comprise half of its global sales, which is a tall order but certainly not improbable.

The investment comes from the newly established Volvo Cars Tech Fund, which was introduced in February with the purpose of investing in companies that could prove strategically beneficial in the future. In June, the fund took a stake in Luminar, a company that specializes in developing lidar for autonomous vehicles. I'd say it's reasonable to expect to hear more from this fund in the future.