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Published on July 22nd, 2019 | by Jennifer Sensiba

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With A Merger, Fenix Power Now Plans To Make Your Old LEAF More Like A Tesla

July 22nd, 2019 by  


As we’ve reported before, Fenix Power had plans to offer batteries for degraded Nissan LEAFs, and eventually other vehicles. Now, after a recent merger, it wants to do a whole lot more. By combining forces with Chargeshare Network and keeping the Fenix name, it plans to offer a range of services that can help an older LEAF and other EVs be a lot easier to use.

Photo by Jennifer Sensiba

Battery Services

It’s important to note that plans for Nissan LEAF batteries are still on. For those interested, and especially for those of our readers who have signed up for a reservation slot, it seems there’s nothing to worry about. Pricing and capacities are all still going to be available as planned.

What has changed is that the plans are now a little bigger. In addition to offering batteries as a service or for purchase, Fenix is going to be setting up a “mini fleet” of test vehicles to ensure that the new packs are good for the wide variety of conditions they are likely to encounter. By testing everywhere from the muggy and humid east to the dry west, and from the snowy heights of the Rockies to the heat of Phoenix, they’ll be able to ensure good performance and life.

Another area it’s expanding into is stationary storage. While details are still in the works, it plans to use the same cells and modular structure as in its EV battery solutions.


Charging Services

By combining forces with the Chargeshare Network, it’s going to be expanding toward the full range of battery and charging services. This will help Fenix customers to have a more integrated experience.

Before the merger, Chargeshare already planned a new approach to EV charging. Currently, most charging providers approach EV charging like a digital gas pump. There’s one car pulling up to one charger, which might have two plugs that either share power or allow one vehicle to charge after the other. Instead of taking this approach, Fenix will be installing stations with 5 or more plugs.

The advantage to this comes from software. When a user arrives at the charging station, they give the station key information: how long they plan to be at the location and how much charge they need to get while there. For example, let’s say there are two cars arriving at almost the same time. Driver A needs to get another 50 miles of range ASAP. Driver B is going to the movie theater for 2.5 hours and only needs to add 20 miles. 

At a typical charger, this all gets messed up if Driver B shows up first, because they’ll start charging toward full while Driver B is forced to wait unnecessarily. Instead, smart software would know that Driver B is in no hurry, and can pause their charging to allow for Driver A to get their 50 miles ASAP and leave. This way, both drivers get what they need when they need it.

Now, imagine trying to mentally juggle the needs of 5 or 10 drivers sharing only 1–2 fast chargers. It’s almost beyond the abilities of the human mind, but the software can easily give most of the drivers what they need by not only intelligently splitting the resources between the different cars, but also keeping them apprised of the charging situation to set expectations.

For customers using Fenix’s apps and software, the process will be even easier for customers using their batteries. Before arrival, the Fenix battery vehicle will be in touch with the station’s software, allowing it to intelligently pre-plan available charging resources for the vehicle. This is just one of several other ways Fenix plans to give its customers more across its range of offerings.

A Bigger Talent & Customer Pool

One of the biggest advantages Fenix gained by joining forces with Chargeshare is its talent pool. By taking Fenix’s battery knowledge and combining it with Chargeshare’s charging expertise, it is in a better position to take care of both types of customers.

At the same time, it’s gaining the opportunity to build a bigger pool of customers. People approaching Fenix for services do so for a variety of reasons (degraded battery replacement, need to charge, need for home storage), and then get the opportunity to explore the company’s other offerings. This increases Fenix Power’s chance of long-term success in an industry where lots of companies come and go.

How We Can Help

I know a number of readers have been skeptical of Fenix, and that’s understandable. Lots of EV startups have come and gone, and Fenix still has a lot to prove. I wouldn’t be recommending this if I hadn’t checked things out pretty thoroughly, though. Not only have they answered a ton of questions to my satisfaction, but I’ve done other things to test them out.

In my opinion, we really need companies like this to succeed. If we want people of all income levels to be able to drive EVs, we need lower-cost used options to be viable. Let’s face it — there are a lot of used LEAFs out there that would make the average driver run away from EVs and not go back for a long time. By having options for older vehicles to stay on the road without having to pay Nissan an exorbitant amount, the situation is massively improved.

If you want to follow Fenix Power more closely, you can find its Facebook page here and its Twitter page here. By following what it’s up to and helping get the company name out there, we can potentially help it get its much needed products and services to market much faster. 
 





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About the Author

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to explore the Southwest US with her partner, kids, and animals.



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