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FreeWire: Learning from the Market and Building with Fusion 360
Prior to designing anything, FreeWire spent four months talking to customers and learning about the pain points with the existing electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure. Expensive installations, underutilization, and poor scalability were tops on the list, leading to what was often described as “charge rage.” Fights were literally breaking out in parking lots. All of these problems stemmed from the same underlying cause: traditional infrastructure needing to be fixed in 1 spot into the ground. So what is any startup to do, but innovate?
FreeWire’s solution was to build mobile, battery-based EV chargers that can service vehicles no matter where they’re parked. But the innovation didn’t stop there. FreeWire built its Mobi Chargers using second-life EV batteries, which maintain most of their original capacity while being a small fraction of the cost. Each 48 kWh Mobi can charge 5-8 vehicles per day without the need for employees to check for open spots, rotate their cars, or really think about it at all. Just drop a pin using FreeWire’s Uber-esque software interface and know your car will be charged by the time you leave work. The business model is Charging as a Service (CaaS), which allows employers and building managers to essentially outsource their entire EV charging operations to FreeWire.
FreeWire is dedicated to user experience, and the company has always believed that form is as important as function in many cases. A product that works perfectly, but looks terrible, can be as big of a failure as a product that doesn’t work at all. This is where FreeWire used the power of Fusion 360.
Much of the basic design was dictated by the form factor of the batteries, but FreeWire let its designer take artistic license with the exterior. Raw CAD files were turned into beautiful renderings using Fusion 360, thanks to Autodesk’s partnership with the Energy Excelerator and LACI Incubator. FreeWire was founded out of the Lean Launchpad program and uses those philosophies in all areas of its business. Ever dollar is crucial when operating lean, so being able to leverage such a powerful tool at a reasonable price is a huge advantage.
FreeWire is in the midst of deploying the final product at its commercial pilot company in Mountain View and is in discussions with most of the major tech companies in Silicon Valley. If you have any questions or would like some additional information, contact them directly right here!