FreeWire enters Europe with battery-based chargers

The Californian charging infrastructure specialist FreeWire is expanding into Europe. With its battery-based charging stations, the company initially wants to gain a foothold in Belgium, the Netherlands and Spain, for which it is opening a European headquarters in Great Britain.

The European activities will be coordinated from just outside the EU in Oxfordshire, UK. The headquarters will open on the 19 April with offices, sales and a demonstration centre. The sales team is expected to grow further during 2023. In addition to the three countries mentioned, the company is also aiming for a market launch in Great Britain, Ireland, Luxembourg and Italy before the end of the year, with other countries to follow.

“Our expansion in Europe is a milestone FreeWire has reached following a year of major growth. We have increased our headcount by 70% and deployed Boost Chargers in five new countries just in the last 12 months,” said James Jean-Louis, European Head of Sales at FreeWire. “FreeWire is well-positioned to tap into the growing European market. We see a major opportunity to offer reliable, flexible, and cost-effective infrastructure that can be deployed quickly to support the rapid increase in demand for ultrafast EV charging in Europe.”

Battery-based charging stations are being increasingly used by a number of different companies. Batteries enable fast charging where grid supply would otherwise be insufficient, releasing a lot of electricity quickly and being recharged slowly off the grid between charging processes and /or at off-peak times when electricity is cheaper. This enables fast charging with a wider variety of electric grid connections.

While FreeWire is expanding into Europe, other companies are expanding in the other direction – the German company ADS-TEC Energy, for example, builds very similar stations and is increasingly looking to the US market. In October 2021, ADS-TEC Energy founded a US subsidiary and is now planning its own US plant. Major orders have already been placed. The US provider FreeWire is a relatively new player and only opened its new headquarters, factory and development centre in Newark, California, in 2022, but has grown rapidly.

Called Boost Charger, FreeWire’s model has a 160 kWh battery. The maximum possible charging power is 200 kW, while the required input power is only 27 kW. The station has two outputs that can be equipped with CCS1, CCS2 or CHAdeMO cables, depending on the country and customer. With CHAdeMO, the charging power is limited to 100 kW, while charging with 200 kW is only possible with CCS. If two vehicles are charging via CCS, the power is divided into 2x 100 kW. The Boost Charger has a 24-inch touch screen for operation. The station is already CE certified and also OCPP-compliant.

Some of these devices are already installed or planned in Europe. For example, FreeWire has already installed an unspecified number of units cooperating with BP. In Belgium, through cooperation with the car dealer Bauwelinck, the first Boost Charger can be found in a branch in Antwerp. FreeWire has also been working with Avia in the Netherlands since early April. In the Netherlands, the first charger will be installed at a petrol station in Wieringerwerf. In Spain, through a partnership with Otamar, the first station has been installed at a motorway service station in Vigo in the Spanish region of Galicia.

In mid-2022 in the USA, FreeWire signed a memorandum of understanding with Phillips 66. The two companies are exploring opportunities to deploy FreeWire’s battery-integrated charging technology at Phillips 66’s US service stations and other strategic locations.

Including reporting from Cora Werwitzke


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