By my count, this is EA's 6th Freemium game, not counting Tetris, which is "freemium-like," but not actually Freemium. The difference is that the majority of top grossing freemium apps are extremely casual in nature. Hence, all six of EAs freemium games have boasted a casual appeal. This is unlike Glu Mobile and Gameloft, who are attempting to create hardcore freemium games. By their very nature, I don't believe hardcore/dedicated gamers are attracted to the idea of freemium. Freemium is a gimmick designed primarily to reel in the casual fish. EA at least understands this basic premise. Gameloft and Glu's freemium games never seem to ascend up the charts, and I don't believe that it's a coincidence either.
This is the one argument to make against the notion that EA might create some type of freemium-based Need for Speed game in the near future. I'm not certain that EA intends to attempt a hardcore freemium title.