BESS-integrated EV charging solution provider FreeWire raises US$125 million

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FreeWire Technologies, a battery-integrated EV charging solution provider, has raised US$125 million in new capital from global asset manager BlackRock and other investors.

The financing consists of a Senior Convertible Note provided by BlackRock Financial Management and an equity raise with investors including BP ventures, Riverstone Holdings, Octave Ventures, Gly Capital Management, Blue Bear Capital, and Daishin Private Equity.

FreeWire Technologies provides an EV charging solution, Boost Charger, that is integrated with an embedded 160kWh lithium-ion battery energy storage system (BESS). This removes the need for every charger installed to have a high-power grid connection, allowing for faster and more widespread charger deployment, according to the company.

It also claims this combination with a BESS provides resiliency and can reduce operating costs for EV charging parks by enabling peak shaving and load shifting, citing an Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) report into its technology. The EPRI report also found that FreeWire’s solution had lower installation costs due to reduced infrastructure requirements.

The company also has a smaller solution intended to be a generator replacement that can charge EVs, Mobi, with an 80kWh BESS.

The newly-raised capital will be used to support the company’s commercial deployments of its solution and increase in manufacturing capacity. It cites ‘high priority’ markets as the UK, Canada, Japan and Australia/New Zealand. It will also expand its team and invest in R&D.

Arcady Sosinov, Founder and CEO of FreeWire Technologies, said: “The most significant barrier to mass EV adoption is the electric grid, which simply can’t meet the power demand required for ultrafast charging to sustainably and cost-effectively electrify our transportation system.”

“FreeWire’s fully-integrated Boost Charger breaks down this barrier by combining battery technology, power conversion technology, and software to enable utilities, retailers, fleets, and site-owners across the US to scale up ultrafast EV charging quickly without requiring expensive and time-consuming utility upgrades.”

The California-based company recently broke ground on a new 6,100 square metre R&D facility in Newark, California to develop and manufacture new ultrafast charging and energy storage product offerings. It will be fully operational by summer this year.

FreeWire is also developing its software offering. It expects to roll out AMP Pro, a distributed energy management services platform (DERM) to manage load shifting, demand charge management, resiliency, in 2022 followed by Charging as a Service in 2023.

Long term, FreeWire wants to be a turnkey retail energy service operator, “whereby it owns, manages, and optimises the customer’s utility meter and bill to unlock opportunities to further monetise its integrated battery system,” the company said.

To-date, it has installed nearly 5MWh of energy storage capacity through its EV charging solution and has over 30MWh of orders booked. This equates to about 31 Boost Chargers installed and a pipeline of around 190. It aims to deploy 5,000 by 2025.

BESS integrators and suppliers are increasingly entering the EV charging infrastructure space through solutions like FreeWire’s or battery packs designed to be integrated into chargers, while EV companies themselves are also launching similar products. E.ON and Volkswagen tied up on one last year.

US system integrator FlexGen recently launched a similar battery-integrated EV charging solution, for example, while European company Alfen’s range of products includes similar solutions to FreeWire.

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