It’s John here, Founder & CEO of Fēnix. With tomorrow being December 1st, I thought I would take advantage of a quiet morning to reflect a bit on 2019, and share a bit of the vision for Fēnix Power for 2020 and well beyond. So find your comfy chair, get a fresh cup of your favorite Saturday morning beverage, for me that’s a cup of medium roast with a little sugar-free vanilla creamer. I’m going to share a bit about what the near-term future looks like here in Charlotte, and then tell a story of a slightly more distant future. This is the one we’re aiming for here at Fēnix Power, and as our reservation count grows, I’m more certain of achieving this vision each and every day.
First, it IS Thanksgiving weekend, surely we have some kind of promotion going on right? Well, we do, but it’s not entirely obvious what the deal is unless you’re following us closely. You see, something big is going on with our reservations today, right now we’re only THREE reservations away from our 400th Nissan Leaf battery replacement deposit! And with the pace of reservations over this long weekend, I have no doubt that we will get to and pass 400 in just a matter of hours. And that’s a pretty big deal for us! And in some ways, that’s a very big deal for each of you as well. You see, in 2020 we will be making a big transition away from building everything basically by hand. One part at a time, one assembly at a time, one car at a time, and with our (soon!) more than 400 customers in line and waiting for us? One at a time just won’t do. And it’s these 400 customers, that have been on-pace to double reservations every 3 months for five quarters in a row, that has provided our investors with real measurable proof of just how strong our first-product market really is. This is key to give us access to the capital we need to achieve our 2020 goals.
In 2020 we’re changing everything about what we’re doing. A short while ago you saw us share our newest location here in Charlotte, and a great location it is, with space for growing our engineering team, in the offices and labs, and space for testing manufacturing automation in the space in the back. And this facility could see us scale to building a full pack assembly every day so we could ship them out for installs to our (almost!) 400 very patient customers waiting in line by the end of the year. And that would be absolutely amazing if we could scale like that, but … we’re not.
We’re planning to scale more than that. You see, 400 isn’t nearly enough, we estimate with the Nissan Leaf alone and solely in the US, there are thousands of Leafs with seriously crippling range limitations, and thousands aging out of warranty coverage every year for nearly the next decade. 400 isn’t even close! By the end of 2020, we aim to prepare Fēnix Power for an even larger manufacturing pace capable of delivering thousands each year. In March of this year, Nissan put its 400,000th Leaf on US roads, wouldn’t it be great if we could keep most of them out of the recyclers? I think so, so we’re aiming to do exactly that!
Part of my vision for our future is that 30 years from now in 2050, 39 years after the original 2011 Nissan Leaf was sold in the US, that we are able to keep most of them on the road. They’re Instant retro-classics in this context, in 2050 they will have that quirky historical-futuristic styling people in ’50 are fond of. Much in the same way the styling of the 1964 Mustang is just as iconic in ’64 as it is in ’19. In 2050 the unique styling of our beloved 1st generation LEAFs makes a statement about a new kind of motor-vehicle classic car enthusiast.
in the summer of 2019, thousands of car buffs flock to car shows to see dozens of classic Mustangs, or perhaps Corvettes, though my personal favorites are classic Jeeps. But instead of looking backward from today, we’re going to imagine a classic car show that is Looking Back from the Future. (I couldn’t help myself, I had to say it!)
It’s now 2050 you’re with your kids and perhaps with their family and kids too, and you’re all walking into town one summer Saturday to see all of the “Classic electric cars”. There you find dozens of Leafs, cleaned up, detailed and waxed, many with their original 2011 metallic blue paint all shiny, but with one subtle difference from the Nissan OEM Leaf. A peek underneath reveals that many Leaf owners still use their Leaf as a daily driver, you can tell this by spotting the easy to service aftermarket modular battery made by Fēnix, with its distinctive removable panels protecting each stack of modules residing above from road hazards that threaten them from below. Many of these cars at the show also have the “Powered by Fēnix” badge on the sides and back, just below the now legendary “Zero Emission” badging on the doors and trunk.
And like how the Leaf will be an iconic classic EV in 2050, passers-by at the EV car show will see that badge and nod at the owner knowingly, because it’s the same badge so many other Fēnix Power-ed new EVs wear at the dealerships. And as we look around this imaginary world demonstrating of my vision for what 2050 could bring, a local Fēnix service franchise owner sees an opportunity to chat up a Fēnix customer. He asks the owner sitting next to the well maintained Burgandy 2012 Leaf not far from the blue 2011 we were admiring a moment ago, “which generation of modules do you have in that thing? You know the new generation can get your car up to 380 miles indicated on the GOM… You should swing by the shop and check them out, we could have your whole subscription swapped out in about 20 minutes. In fact, yesterday my installer just finished a conversion of a classic Model S to Fēnix using this new generation! You should have seen the look on his face after he took it for a spin!”
The Leaf owner nods knowingly and says “I’m still on the modules I installed back in ’42! As for your customer? I bet he still had the original Tesla cells in there, didn’t he? Hard to believe cars used to use batteries that heavy back then… I mean I get it, Tesla did get their batteries to last a really long time, but why would you keep those heavy things in there for 30 years? Everyone knows after the first decade you move them into your house or your business! I would have switched to Fēnix a decade or two ago!“
I hope you enjoyed my version of Story Time. Here at Fēnix HQ, we love to talk about and plan for our vision of an electric future. While my story might seem a bit ambitious, and when you consider even with the variety of EVs on the road today, very few have aged past their first decade on the road. The EV market is growing fast, but aging slow! What is important here, is that from a technology point of view there actually aren’t any technical obstacles that would prevent us from achieving that vision of 2050, the only obstacle is the time it takes to get there.
As for 2019, what are we to do about providing some savings for customers just finding us today? Well, that’s easy. We originally planned on raising our installation costs after customer 400, it is still the same $150 deposit but the balance due at install later does change. Before today, we were providing a huge reward for our customers who were reserving so early, 80% off of the planned $1,500 installation cost. And we were all set to lower the discount down to 50% after 400 reservations, with the balance due later jumps from $150 to $600. We simply couldn’t let that discount sunset in the middle of Thanksgiving weekend! So that’s our “Black Friday Deal”, we’re giving everyone 3 more days to get on board now and save $1,200 later!
So, for those that saw the title and skipped right to the end to find the deal , here it is: regardless of how many reservations come in over the entire weekend, we’re keeping our costs due at install on hold at $150, all the way through the end of the workday for Cyber Monday. That means until Monday, December 2nd at 5:00 PM Pacific time, we keep honoring that 80% off the install. You can find our original Turkey Day promo page here for the details of this deal, and some great other information.
Thank you to all of you who already hold reservations, and being patient with us while we raised the capital required to help as many of you as possible. Don’t forget to buckle up and hold on tight, 2020 is going to be one heck of an exciting year for all of us!
-John Bysinger, Founder & CEO of Fēnix Power.