[ad#post_ad]What better a topic for Earth Day? The Zenn Motors/EEStor Inc. saga has entered a new chapter, and its not 7 or 11…yet.
For years we have heard the secretive Texas start-up called EEStor has been working to develop a new form of energy storage based on their newly-invented barite-based material. This material is said to be formed into small ultracapacitor components which are then stacked like cubes into batteries of any desired size. These batteries (EESUs) would have several times the energy density of lithium-ion cells at a fraction of the volume, mass and cost, with a functionally unlimited lifetime and ability to fully charge in a few minutes.
Zenn is the Canadian company headed by CEO Ian Clifford that through its 10.7% ownership in EEStor and exclusivity agreement would put these batteries into electric cars, and has helped fan the flames of enthusiasm in the unseen technology.
Last summer Clifford told GM-Volt in an exclusive interview that EEStor would be unveiling their decade-in-the making EESUs imminently and would be in production by the end of 2009. That date came and went without a press release or proof of function. Though on Earth Day 2009, EEStor announced its powder had met permittivity milestone goals.
By late 2009 Zenn announced it was shutting down electric car production entirely to instead focus on producing EESU-powered drivetrains that it would begin selling to large automakers, in an Intel-inside like scenario. Since 2006 Zenn had been producing and selling low speed electric neighborhood vehicles. At this point Zenn has announced they closed their production facility, sold off the last of their inventory and laid-off 15 plant related employees.
At last month’s Zenn Annual General Meeting, Clifford and company revealed no details but still made the claim there were no technological hurdles and that EEStor-powered ZENNergy drivetrain systems would be on their way. They also claimed sufficient cash and low enough burn rate to sustain them through 2010.
New reports also claim EEStor founder Dick Weir has just stated in an interview “People say we’re late. We’re not late! Zenn put out some things but we didn’t authorize those statements.”
Will this or could this technology ever see the light of day?
High level GM sources have just recently told GM-Volt they tried in earnest to do some fact finding discussion with EEStor but “never got anything substantive from them.”
Others on the EEStor fan site EEStory speculate military contracting powerhouse Lockheed Martin, with whom EEStor has a military application agreement, might be secretly mass-producing the game-changing EESUs at its high security Lufkin facility instead of at EEStor’s strip mall store in Cedar Park Texas.
According to Lockheed spokesperson Craig VenBebber this is not the case either.
“Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control has no plans (nor had any plans) to produce EESUs,” he told GM-Volt.
Further speculation suggest that EESUs may be a secret component of a new electric grid load stabilizing technology Lockheed is developing and calls SEESuite. Asked if this is technology includes EESUs, VanBebber says “none whatsoever.”
We would all love to see limitless range electric cars powered by cheap indelible US-made super batteries, and it is fair to say hope is still alive, but the world’s patience is wearing thin.
This entry was posted on Thursday, April 22nd, 2010 at 7:55 am and is filed under EEStor. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.