Why Volvo is investing in this California EV charging firm

Volvo Cars, which has aggressive plans to electrify its lineup starting next year, has acquired a stake in vehicle charging company FreeWire Technologies.

Volvo is buying into the San Francisco-based specialist in mobile fast-charging solutions via its recently launched tech fund.

No terms of the deal were released.

The FreeWire stake purchase comes four months after Volvo invested in Luminar, a maker of lidar, which is a key technology for autonomous vehicles.

Volvo Tech Fund CEO Zaki Fasihuddin said he and his team could have another announcement soon.

“There are quite a few companies that we’re looking at in Europe right now. Since we’re constantly searching for investments it’s very possible we will make another investment before year-end,” Fasihuddin told Automotive News Europe.

Commitment to e-mobility

While Volvo has no plans to have direct ownership of charging stations, it said in a statement that the investment in FreeWire reinforces its overall commitment toward the transition to electric mobility.

One of the unique services that FreeWire offers is a mobile charging unit that can be deployed to an apartment complex, giving people there the ability to re-supply their batteries with energy without the need for adding any infrastructure.

The mobile units could also be used to help a motorist who gets stranded during a journey.

One of the unique services that FreeWire offers is a mobile charging unit (shown) that can be deployed to an apartment complex or a shopping center.

Fasihuddin said that Volvo invested in FreeWire to better understand the concerns consumers have about electric cars, such as where they can book a charge and how does the charging technology will communicate with the car. He said Volvo wants answers to those questions and more before its full-electric cars reach the market.

“There are so many issues to think about and we want to get out ahead of that because we think there is a tsunami coming. And we’re part of creating that because in the coming years half of cars will be full electric,” Fasihuddin told ANE.

In June, Volvo said it wants half of its global sales to come from full-electric cars by 2025. This announcement came roughly a year after the Swedish automaker announced plans to only offer electrified powertrains in all-new models that launch starting in 2019, a move that signaled its intention to phase out the internal combustion engine from its lineup.

Another goal Volvo has set is to sell a total of 1 million electrified cars by 2025. That would include mild hybrids, plug-in hybrids and full-electric models.

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