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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Sat Oct 13, 2018 10:04 am

warrenc wrote:I suppose pricey was a poor choice of words. I'd be hesitant to commit to a monthly fee for an unknown product from an unknown company with an unknown future.
Just a whole lot of questions would need to be answered for the average consumer to consider signing up, I think. I do applaud their willingness to break into this market, though. Nobody else has been stepping up, and I can understand that since it's a pretty narrow market. They obviously have bigger plans.
Yeah, you might want to go back and check out the FAQ. The original announcement was simply unplanned and their website GREATLY reflected that. The FAQ they added is well done and answers a lot of questions.
2011 SL; 44,598 mi, 87% SOH. 2013 S; 44,840 mi, 91% SOH. 2016 S30; 29,413 mi, 99% SOH. 2018 S; 25,185 mi, SOH 92.23%. 2019 S Plus; 16,686 mi, 91.51% SOH
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:11 am

JohnBysinger wrote:I can address people's questions about this product, I'm the founder of Fenix, we've had a ton of questions about how our solution works and have updated our FAQ to address them. But that doesn't cover everything, so let me know if there's something else you'd like to know. https://fenix.systems/faq

But to address a couple from what I see above: We knew we were taking a bit of a risk announcing this early with fewer details than we intended. Our roadmap had us announcing this coming spring when we would have quite a bit more to share. But with Nissan raising their pricing, we had people who knew about us asking that we announce sooner so people would know there are options coming. This is also why we're including such a deep discount (90%) on the reservation/installation cost right now. The installation cost of $1,500 mostly goes towards freight, batteries are heavy. :) But for anyone willing to commit this early, we'll eat the majority of their install cost as a thank you for their willingness to sign up now. And of course, as we get closer to spring, if the details don't look good to you, the deposit is refundable.

As for the monthly pricing, the Leaf is just the first application of our solution, and we'll be building our service to scale to other solutions. So pricing will actually be on a capacity/storage basis and will be a few dollars per month per kWh. We're designing as much flexibility into our physical and service solutions to give customers as much flexibility as they want. And sure you can lease a Zoe pack, but will that pack improve over time? Ours will.

We're in this not just to help Leaf, but to completely change EV, we think that this common design of a monolithic, expensive battery that can only be replaced by the OEM manufacturer is an obstacle to greater adoption. It's time that batteries were made serviceable, and provide more flexibility for the owners, and we're going to show the world how that's done for both the Leaf, and in a "Halo" product in a Corvette C5 conversion.

It's good to see your post here. As an owner of a 2011 Leaf with a very degraded (original canary) battery pack, I am looking for replacement solutions. I'm evaluating my options at this time. I realize that this announcement was rushed and details are scarce (but the FAQ added a lot). I would like to say that if this is true, this is very exciting!

I have a few questions:
1) I would like more clarity when you have it on "what happens in a wreck". Specifically, you state:
You can either terminate your service, at which time we will remove the modules from your car for recycling or possibly refurbishment.

a) My car is insured with collision coverage. Wouldn't there be a conflict where the insurance carrier who would insist that the battery pack is theirs? How would you remove the pack in such an event?
b) What happens if the wreck damages or destroys the pack? Would I be liable for the cost to replace those modules?
c) You state that there may be a service charge associated with the service. It would be good to get clarity on exactly what the charge would be

2) What regions are your batteries available in? US48? US50? New Zealand? Russia? EU?

3) Privacy and security is a top concern of mine. For this reason, I have disabled Carwings in my Nissan Leaf. if I were to buy the pack outright, would I be able to disable the cell connection in the pack? I realize that I would lose the AI diagnostics features in the pack.
https://www.wired.com/2015/07/hackers-r ... p-highway/

Note: the 2G Leaf Carwings unit also had known critical security vulnerabilities that were never fixed.

4) As I'm sure you're aware, charging lithium batteries above 80% affects both their maximum number of charge cycles and storage lifespan. Do you plan to include extra "buffer" capacity in your pack so that a 100% charge is really an 80% charge? For instance, for 24 kWh cars, if the actual pack capacity was 30kWh, then owners could charge their cars to 100% every day and really be charging the pack to 80%, maximizing battery lifespan AND range of the other 24kWh cars without altering the VCM.
https://batteryuniversity.com/index.php ... _batteries

5) I realize the initial plan is to release a like for like capacity, due to difficulties with larger capacity packs. Technical details are light, but if you're engineering your own BMS, couldn't you just fake the BMS reporting data to the VMS to be compatible with the old VMS? I realize that this would cause both the GOM and LeafSpy to report incorrect values, but that would be something I'd absolutely accept as an owner for additional capacity.

6) What happens to the original OEM pack when it's replaced? Does an owner have an option to keep it for a solar project? It looks like from DaveInOlyWA's post, they can for a fee. Can you confirm this and any idea what the fee would be? What are you doing with the old cells?

7) Have you reached out to the folks at http://evsenhanced.com/ ? They have a common interest in furthering EV's and have managed to decode the BMS pairing protocol which may assist you.

8) Primary on my mind is the risk involved with this endeavor and the quality of the engineering. I would love to determine that this is likely to succeed and isn't a scam. Any finished work that you'd be willing to share (including prototypes, converted cars, etc) would help early adopters gain confidence in the solution. I realize it may be too early--you do need to patent and protect your IP, but if you shared videos like the one for your product, it would help people to gain confidence in your products. I hope you don't take this the wrong way, but anyone can setup a website.
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC_KZxC ... dMqsNZfZXA
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Sat Oct 13, 2018 1:28 pm

Thanks for the reply, and thanks for numbering the questions, will make my reply easier! :)

1) Collision coverage. We're still working some of this out with the lawyers, but it will depend on our relationship with the customer. If they've paid for their hardware completely (whether full purchase or paid over time.) The burden of replacement will likely be entirely on the customer. In those cases, if/when we look to recover our modules, we'll work with the insurer and likely purchase them back if the car has been totaled. The goal here being recycling, and assumes we've been informed of an accident. Note: if the customer still subscribes to the service, we may be aware of some kind of accident as we'll have shock sensing in the modules, and if connectivity still works, they'll let us know that. If however, the customer has not purchased their hardware and is simply a subscriber, the modules are ours to recover, again we'll work with the insurer to clarify and claim them. So the cost/liability entirely depends on the ownership status. While our solution has quite a bit of intelligence to it, this might be a reasonable parallel: If you purchase any other aftermarket product, install it on your car, then get into a wreck, you don't expect the vendor of that product to replace it, that would be up to you. If you lease a car and get into an accident, the insurer will settle the least when it totals the car, our lawyers believe this is how it will work, but of course, will need to validate this with a real insurer. We'll be having these discussions with major carriers as we get closer to market to clarify all of these questions.

If the pack is un-damaged (and we'll have diagnostic abilities here), but the car is totaled by the insurance company and you wish to move your service to a new car, this is where our charge comes in. Currently, we're stating that all install events are $1,500, this is based upon the ground-freight costs of shipping heavy lithium products. As we get more customers and grow the network of service facilities and iron out the logistical questions, we'll likely reduce this cost over time. Most of the dollar value numbers you see us publishing today are a high-end estimate as we're intending to manage expectations. We would much rather state a higher cost now and pleasantly surprise you later than promise a lower cost now and have angry customers later.

2) We're going to launch US48 for sure, US50 shouldn't be a difficult leap and Hawaii is a market we very much want to get into, but it has a different set of shipping challenges we need to confirm before we say yes there. Though I imagine we'll have that figured out by launch. Beyond the US we've had solid interest from Canada, Norway, UK/EU, NZ, and a few other locations. We've retained an international licensing and IP firm to assist with answering these questions. While we're confident that entering those markets is possible, we also need to solve the connectivity/backhaul piece for the service as well. So we're not stating outside of the US until we can confirm we're ready for those markets. I personally have very deep knowledge of the Cellular Data industry and am confident we will solve those challenges soon after launch.

3) As I just mentioned, I've got deep knowledge of data networks and security, and fully understand the privacy implications of what we're doing. First, let me state that we won't be collecting geolocation for normal use, we're considering tracking altitude via a pressure sensor arrangement, but that's not a priority for us yet. Note that both the modules and the pack/shell will have the ability to "phone home", so even a removed module will be able to inform us of its status. And while we won't be tracking geolocation, with the cellular connectivity we will be able to roughly identify where a module is located, this will only be used in the event of non-payment and recovery is necessary. We don't need geolocation for normal operations. We have many people like yourself asking about full ownership, and while we completely understand the reasons behind that question, we're confident that once we get to market and more of what we're doing is made public, very few will actually want to do that. The value presented simply outweighs ownership without service. But that said, we're still working out the details to see if we can serve those customer's needs, and hope to have satisfactory answers before we get to market.

I've read in detail about the carwings security issues, they made some VERY novice mistakes, if you compare our architecture to theirs, it's like comparing a kid's electric go-cart to a Leaf. Our data protocols and storage architecture is very robust.

4) I would love to answer yes to providing a buffer, but there are some heavy technical challenges to making that possible, along with a higher cost of the product. Remember we're setting the subscription cost based upon storage size, perhaps later we'll be able to offer this as an option, but I can't say yes at this time. We'll definitely be looking into this as we already have the action item of offering increased capacity, but it will depend on how many customers actually want this option. I suspect that the majority willing to pay for 30 will just want the dash to read 30, rather than 24 and know there's a buffer. Remember: with a subscription degraded cells/modules will get replaced over time, the worry about charging behavior and impact to battery life isn't as necessary with our solution.

5) What we're engineering is much more than a traditional BMS, but yes, essentially that's what we're doing, we will be emulating the data to the car and the car won't know the difference. As we get closer to market we'll be contacting the developer behind LeafSpy as well, it's such a prolific tool that we want to be compatible with his solution. And while we understand that you may be accepting of incorrect values knowing you get more range, we'd rather not deliver a product that doesn't behave well with the VMS and LeafSpy. So you likely won't see an expanded solution from us until we know that it plays nice with the VMS/car.

6) Our current pricing is based on the ability to recycle the original packs. We will be keeping a percentage of them, likely the ones in the best shape, as some customers may wish to back out and restore their cars, for example in the event they wish to sell or trade it in. As for cost, that will completely depend on the health of the pack, but we know that some customers will want to and are planning to have a method for that. Additionally, we're investigating partner recyclers and may be able to offer packs or modules to our customers at a discount, but that's down the road and not baked yet.

7) I've followed their work for years and know about their involvement with decoding the protocol, while we haven't spoken to them yet, they already are on our contact list to talk to. One of our longer-term goals is to help feed the aftermarket industry as a whole, building relationships with others in this space is very important to us, and expect us to publish some of our own learnings similar to their protocol work later.

8) I sincerely wish I could share more, as stated before we're coming out of hiding about 6 months ahead of plan. My IP attorney would have my head on a platter if I shared more publicly than I am. I've been working on developing Leaf solutions for 3 years now and am very, intimately, familiar with Leaf owners need to see/touch/validate any products like this. Right now, even a photo of our work would reveal much more than we're able to. We're entering into a $400B industry and intending to disrupt some very big players if we let too much out before our paperwork is ready, we risk everything. I hope you understand.

I can share this, we have some very solid talent on our team. Serial entrepreneurs, electronics manufacturing execs from companies like Dell and Microsoft, engineers with real in-depth work on battery, charging, lifetime estimation, AI, blockchain, and a whole host of other skill sets. I personally have automotive engineering, manufacturing, process improvement, development, systems/cloud/virtualization, and two decades of wireless data and 100's of specific implementations of solutions on these systems. More will be revealed about the business side in the next week, but have to wait on an anouncement there, for now the cat stays in the bag.

On a personal note, these were great questions, happy to answer more, or if you'd prefer you can email me directly at john@fenix-power.com Thanks!

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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:17 am

Sounds like the goal of this company is to become an aftermarket service for ALL EVs.

Does the lease essentially include servicing of the battery throughout its life to ensure its capacity is always near 100%? If so, that is where the value is. Comparing the cost of a lease vs. replacement every 7 years is not very favorable, but if you add in the fact that you won't have any reduction in range it becomes much more attractive.

I doubt you can answer this question, but I'll ask anyway. Any chance of replacing 24kWhr batteries with a higher capacity battery?

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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:49 am

webb14leafs wrote:I doubt you can answer this question, but I'll ask anyway. Any chance of replacing 24kWhr batteries with a higher capacity battery?
Their answer was in their FAQ here: https://fenix.systems/faq#Leaf

Can I get a bigger pack / add more range?

Our long-term goal is to provide exactly that, however, there are some technical challenges to overcome before we can commit to that solution. For now, we are saying no, you will get the same range your car had originally. NOTE: If you purchase our pack, and we are able to solve these challenges after you’ve already had our product installed, you are still eligible to update your car to more range. There may be an installation cost for adding modules to increase your range, and your monthly subscription cost will increase since we will be billing per module/kWh.

I agree that a bigger pack makes this a huge value add for me. If that can be demonstrated, I would be extremely interested.

I don't know the technical challenges that they need to overcome, but I hope they overcome them. I also wonder how many of those technical challenges could be bypassed if the user experience was not optimal.

For instance, if we wanted to offer 40kWh packs and can't alter an older Leaf to support 40kWh packs, there would be three options:
1) Restrict installation to 24 kWh packs, citing technical difficulties
2) Install 40 kWh pack and only use 24 kWh of capacity
3) Install 40 kWh pack, utilizing the full capacity by having the battery controller lie about the capacity and remaining charge. Sure, the GOM and charge time estimates would be wrong, but I'd be happy knowing that I could just nearly double whatever the car reports as miles left. Dealing with that would be preferable to having half the range.
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:17 am

@mux Licensing opportunity for your CANbus invention? It seems likely that one of the technical challenges they need to overcome is to spoof the BMS...
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 10:19 am

I appreciate that you have a lot on your plate just engineering this for the LEAF, but what other cars might be on your roadmap? Might third-party EV service providers be able to install your modules into other vehicles or even conversions at some point down the line?

P.S. I like the concept quite a bit, however I think that being able to provide bigger than standard packs is going to be a necessary feature for ultimate success. The optics of paying $100 an month to keep a $6000/80mi range car on the road is tough, but give it 100-120mi range and it becomes much more palatable.
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:04 pm

The person behind DD is very EV knowledgeable. I know that he has done contract work for Tony Williams at Quick Charge Power He might be interested in your project.
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Tue Oct 16, 2018 9:14 am

GlennD wrote:The person behind DD is very EV knowledgeable. I know that he has done contract work for Tony Williams at Quick Charge Power He might be interested in your project.
I don't have a project, just curiosity.
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Re: Fenix Power: A new third party battery replacement?

Thu Oct 18, 2018 9:15 am

The primary questions quite naturally center around the specs, especially capacity and cycle life and of course, how they are warranted. Oddly, these are the questions that Fenix won't answer. I don't care why. Until they're answered all else is a waste of time. Anyone can make a web site and talk about "severing the cost of the battery, blah blah blah". What and where is the THING you are trying to sell me?
I noticed you're still working with polymers.

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