Zenn Motor Co. may have a name better associated with a sense of peace, but the company it has been connected to for years and has now agreed to buy does have a bit of uncertainty about it. Canada-based Zenn, which used to make and sell lead-acid battery-powered neighborhood-electric vehicles, has reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in energy-storage company and distribution partner EEStor.
Zenn Motor Company, the former purveyor of a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV), and Eestor, the eternal purveyor of promises of a supercapacitor-based energy storage unit, have managed to defy at least one of the predictions hurled their way. The two intertwined companies have survived.
Back on February 14th, Ian Clifford stepped down from his role as chief executive officer of ZENN Motor Company, Inc. Clifford, who founded ZENN back in 2001, did not completely leave the company. Rather, he assumed the position of vice chairman of ZENN's board of directors. Brian Cott, who joined the company back in 2006, replaced Clifford as ZENN's president and CEO.
Effective February 14th, Ian Clifford stepped down from his role as chief executive officer of ZENN Motor Company, Inc. Clifford, who founded ZENN back in 2001, has no intentions of completely leaving company and will immediately assume the position of vice chairman of ZENN's board of directors.
It's been a while (five months, to be precise) since we wrote about ZENN, the small Canadian automaker powertrain maker that had hoped to change the world through that mythical EEStor ultracapacitor technology. Well, the company has ended its silence with an email newsletter and the news is modest – and there's only one mention of EEStor.
In the realm of vehicle electrification, EEStor and its super-duper ultra-capacitors are roughly the equivalent of Duke Nukem Forever for video game players. The creators of both products have made impressive claims and repeatedly promised public demonstrations and introductions for many years. In both cases, the creators have missed every single promised date with nothing to show for it.
Vapor vs. vapor? That could be the case as super-secretive EEStor could potentially face competition in the ultra-capacitor space from Recapping. We've never heard of Recapping before, but the startup is backed by Khosla Ventures and recently received a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Coming to you live from yesterday's EVCast, beatmasters Bo and Ryan have put together a mix using audio from the leaked audio of Dick Weir to highlight some of EESTOR's missed promises. It's got a beat, and the "jokes," such as they are, are really only for insiders. Still, if you know the history of secretive ultracapacitor company EESTOR and Zenn, then it's a good few seconds. Bretspot, the developer behind the amazing EESTOR timeline (above), has clipped out the song and made the short MP3 av
is it officially time to give up on EESTOR? Technically, we have 12 months to wait and see if Ian Clifford, the CEO of Zenn Motors, comes through on his promise to demonstrate the semi-magical-sounding energy storage unit in 2010. But silence from company that is partnering with EESTOR on the quick-charging ultracapacitor is lighting up the discussion boards over at EESTORY. It's not like the companies have a stellar track record of meeting deadlines.
We've long given up on waiting for announcements from EEStor (and, to a lesser degree, their partner ZENN) to come true. But, with the latest move by ZENN to drop their plans to launch the cityZENN high-speed electric car and will instead focus on becoming a supplier of ZENNergy Drive electric vehicle drivetrain components – ZENN's low-speed vehicles (pictured) have also been curtailed – the reality is that ZENN and EEStor are tied at the hip. As our friend Darryl Siry writes over at
According to reports from Reuters and GM-Volt.com, Zenn Motors has canceled plans to launch its cityZENN high-speed electric car and will slow down work on its low-speed EVs. According to Zenn Chief Executive Ian Clifford, the company will focus its efforts on becoming a supplier of ZENNergy Drive electric vehicle drivetrain components, which we assume will center around the EEStor energy storage system. Why the change in plans?
Last month, we got a glimpse inside EEStor's ultracapacitor progress thanks to a leaked audio clip – admittedly, possibly on purpose – of someone interviewing EEStor CEO Dick Weir. At that time, Weir said that the EESU packs would be coming soon and promised demonstrations for 2010. We might not have to wait even that long for some sort of non-PR proof that the ultracaps work. According to All Cars Electric, EEStor has said, "they will prove their technology to the world by the end
Sun Microsystems founder Vinod Khosla has not been shy about making his bets on the automotive future known. Wherever there has been an opportunity to invest in or promote advanced ethanol, it seems Khosla was there, giving it at least a cursory look (see, for example, Coskata, which GM also invested in). He even described his "big biofuels bet" back in 2006.
For about six hours recently, a leaked (we assume it was leaked) audiotape of someone speaking with EEStor CEO Dick Weir was available on Yahoo! video. Before the video was yanked, enterprising electric car fans managed to record the audio and have made it available around the net. What's amazing about this audio recording – and our knowledgable friends at EVCast vouch for its authenticity – is that for the first time, Weir is actually forthcoming with details about his company's EES
EEStor, the company behind the ultralight, ultra-efficient – and ultra secret – EEStor Electrical Energy Storage Units (EESU) that could change the electric car world, still isn't giving out much information about their product. But Ian Clifford, the CEO of Zenn Motors, is talking.
Hype maintenance can be hard work. Following the Earth Day announcement that the EEStor ultracapacitor had passed independent tests that showed it had a relative permittivity of 22,500, the automaker most closely tied to the secretive company, ZENN, has come out to say two things. First, the test results have been verified. There are a whole heap of details on the verification process in the release after the jump. Second, ZENN says that the results mean it will pay EEStor another $700,000 U.S.
Granted, the update and correction that EEStor released yesterday regarding their "huge milestone" Earth Day announcement aren't that major, but we can't ignore it at this point. First, the update is that the "relative permittivity certification" stuff was done at a temperature range of -20 and 65 degrees centigrade. The correction is a bit more information about the third-party verifier, Dr. Edward G. Golla, PhD., originally identified as the laboratory director at Texas Research International.
Following EEStor's permittivity announcement on Earth Day last week, I wrote a post that ended with a call for our readers to determine if the stated "relative permittivity of 22,500" was a big deal or not. There were some educated responses (thank you), but one refrain that kept appearing was that everyone is waiting for a real and physical demonstration of the company's supposedly amazing ultracapacitor. "Until then," some of you wrote, "stfu EEStor."
Delays, hype, and more delays. This is the short history of EEStor, the company that keeps on talking about what is supposed to be an ultracapacitor that reinvents electric drive vehicle energy storage. Whatever is really going on, EEStor did put out a press release for Earth Day that keeps beating the hype drum. The announcement isn't about the ultracaps directly, but about EEStor's Composition Modified Barium-Titanate powders, which have apparently been verified by a third party to meet or exc