CEO, Arcady Sosinov, recently sat down with our partners at Autodesk to discuss the changing landscape of electric vehicles and how that has shaped the development of FreeWire. Here are some of the highlights.
What inspired you to create and launch FreeWire Technologies?
Several years ago when FreeWire was formed, it was easy to spot one of the megatrends of our generation, which is the shift from fossil fuels to electrification in the transportation industry. Regulations, clean air policies, and consumer behavior are moving in the right direction, but there still exists a major barrier before electrified transport reaches a tipping point. Based on several hundred interviews with relevant stakeholders, we found that many were concerned about the inaccessibility of charging stations. Charging station accessibility (and availability) is inherently an infrastructure problem, and thus the Mobi Charger was born. Instead of needing 1 outlet for each car, our technology allows you to charge 10 cars using that same outlet. It also saves on energy costs by shifting consumption from daytime to nighttime, when rates are lower. What’s more, by reusing electric vehicle batteries to build our systems, we solved a major business and environmental issue for automotive manufacturers. Our battery-backed EV chargers require less power infrastructure, save thousands in energy costs, and can be placed in more areas, making charging more accessible for EV drivers.
What’s your entrepreneurship process like? How are you using your business management skills to lead your company from ideation, to formation and incubation, and now customer acquisition and revenue growth?
In this entrepreneurship process, I have learned so much from my advisors, investors, and teammates. During my Berkeley MBA program, I participated in Steve Blank’s Lean Launchpad program, which teaches the benefits of the lean methodology. That skillset, more so than any other that I’ve come across, has given me the tools needed to run and grow a startup. In the real world I’ve found that everything I’ve learned during the program has given me a great foundation. No piece of knowledge has been an end solution without at least slight modifications but I’ve always had a good start to tackling new challenges.
What are some of the future trends you are seeing in the design of electric vehicles?
Without a doubt, ranges for electric vehicles will extend and the rising adoption of electric vehicles will drive the desire for faster charging. Many prospective EV drivers are now concerned with the range of the vehicles – 100 miles, a common range for many EVs, is about a quarter tank of gas in many internal combustion vehicles. However, battery technology is improving at a fast pace. We are already hearing news that longer-range vehicles at affordable price points will be available in 2017. This will certainly encourage more drivers to go electric. There will be need for faster charging and access to more public stations. FreeWire has taken the steps to anticipate the increased desire of faster charging. Our battery-back DC fast charger will allow fast charging to be placed in many more areas without additional strain on the electrical grid.