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 email@example.com