There’s no Christmas for EEStor this year… maybe 2009

EEStor is citing funding problems to explain what is likely to be another delay of its allegedly disruptive energy storage technology. At least that’s what you can read over at the GM-Volt site, which has posted a dispatch from EEStor CEO Dick Weir about the likely timing now of commercial production of the company’s Electrical Energy Storage Units. “The funding that we did receive was not sufficient to meet the production status late in 2008,” Weir wrote.

I’m not surprised about the likelihood of production in 2009. In my own chats with Weir he has suggested as much. What I am surprised about is the difficulty getting funding. You’d think if EEStor has what it claims to have, and has such an impressive production line, and has certification that what it wants to do it can do, then investors would be falling over themselves to get in early on the action.

Now, one possible scenario is that the investment bar that Weir has raised is too high and that he’s unwilling to let his sweat equity be easily scooped away by sharks of the venture capital world. Clearly, he’s keeping his circle of friends small and tight.

Perhaps Kleiner has offered to invest more but not at acceptable terms to Weir. It’s plausible. But there’s also the fact that EEStor hasn’t released its permittivity tests, which as I understood it was the trigger for further funding from ZENN (but also giving Kleiner a first right of refusal before EEStor was free to solicit funds from elsewhere).

Given the lack of permittivity results (which, if they do exist and are positive, would presumably have to be disclosed by ZENN because of its obligations as a publicly traded company), there’s another explanation: that EEStor is having technical troubles and few want to touch the company until the bumps are ironed out. One thing for sure is that an agreement with Light Electric Vehicles Inc., whoever they are, doesn’t say much about who the company partners with.

And whither Lockheed Martin? It’s a great partner — on paper — but just how committed is Lockheed to a company claiming a delay in getting funding? For conspiricists out there, it could be that Lockheed is so committed that EEStor is intentionally delaying commercial milestones so that military applications can be nailed down behind the scenes. I’ve tried calling the folks at Lockheed for an update. It’s no surprise they don’t return calls.

I’m still prepared to give EEStor and Weir the benefit of the doubt. In a confidential EEStor investor presentation I obtained two years ago, Weir disclosed that he would need $10 million (U.S.) in funding to achieve full production with the ability to manufacture up to 25 52-kilowatt EESUs per hour. Who knows how much money EEStor has truly raised to date (at least $3 million is certain), but what is known is that initial targets for production shipments have not been met.

According to that presentation, EEStor was expecting to have revenues of $67 million in 2008 and have an operating profit of $30 million. Needless to say, nowhere close. Forget about achieving a revenue target of $122 million in 2009 (and profits of $60 million).

But that’s fine. Shit happens. EEStor wouldn’t be the first venture late with production and revenue targets, and many have gone on to become large and successful companies. Given what’s at stake, I’m prepared to quietly cheerlead in hopes that what Weir is trying to do can, some day, lead to a better world.

At the same time, Weir — as much as he has made clear in the past that he doesn’t care what other people think — has to start caring at some point if he hopes to get “other people’s” money. Assuming he truly needs it and that his talk of delay and funding issues is a smokescreen.

13 thoughts on “There’s no Christmas for EEStor this year… maybe 2009”

  1. “Given the lack of permittivity results (which, if they do exist and are positive, would presumably have to be disclosed by ZENN because of its obligations as a publicly traded company), ” That may not necessarily be true. EEStor would need to provide the independent verification to Zenn, Zenn would have to accept these and then make its next milestone payment. Public announcement would likely occur at that time (acceptance and payment).

  2. I would venture to say that your speculation about Dick Weir not wanting to hand over more of the company is dead on- this would explain the deal with LightEV, where he is only giving up rights to a niche market, probably only for a certain length of time, for an initial cash infusion. I remember reading somewhere that Mr. Weir was a perfectionist, and wanted to make sure that what he was working on was perfected before moving on- this also explains his reluctance to give up any more control of the company’s future stock, and may, in part, explain some of their delay- along with hitting those naggy, unforseen, technical problems of course;-)

    Besides, he does seem a rascally sort, and probably, really does not care a whit about what others think! Those Scientists! Can’t live with ’em, and can’t live without their earth-shattering technological breakthroughs!

  3. The GM Volt article says that there will be no EESU’s delivered to Zenn in 2008. According to B at, this is inaccurate. He cites information from Zenn and EEStor saying the plan to deliver prototypes built by EEStor’s production line to Zenn in 2008 has not changed. Earlier, B interviewed Carl Watkins from LightEVs who said that the existing prototypes were built in labs and that EEStor’s innovation is it’s production line more than it’s EESU. Thus, the delivery of a prototype built entirely on the EEStor production line would be a major accomplishment. It would validate what Zenn and LightEVs have both said which is production would begin in 2009.

    The parsing of words here is intense and seems to emanate from statements originally made by Ian Clifford when asked whether he had ever seen EEStor prototypes. He always responds by saying he has a contract for production grade EESU’s, not prototypes. See what the problem is? EEStor needs to produce something off the line that Zenn can test before they produce 100 or 1000 of these EESU’s. So, yes, Zenn doesnt want a lab built prototype but they do want a sample produced by EEStor’s production line.

  4. You have to wonder if initial production is being siphoned off to be used in black programs at Lockheed. I bet the DOD would pay lots more than the consumer would.

  5. You know, another to interpret Dick Weir’s comments are- they did not have the funding to finish their production line by the end of 2008…but now due to their deal with LightEV they do.

  6. “Weir disclosed that he would need $10 million (U.S.) in funding to achieve full production with the ability to manufacture up to 25 52-kilowatt EESUs per hour. ”

    $10 million is chump change.

    The guy either has nothing or he’s a terrible business person.

    If he’s got a product hundreds of millions of dollars would be lining up to get a piece. He could easily sell ten million dollars of stock and still hold a very strong majority position. He could even get people to buy non-voting stock which would give him total control.

    If he had something to sell….

    (Remember how people in the business laughed at McCain’s $300 million prize? Miniscule in terms of the potential profits to be earned.)

  7. EESTOR will never be able to deliver a product, It is a waste of time. Sorry Folks. You’ve all been had by Weir. All Lies!

    GO Silicon Nanowire Batteries!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Bob, it goes further than that. If this guy has a product with even a quarter the capacity he claims, every car company on the planet will be throwing billions at him. Forget 25 units an hour, he’ll be churning out one a second.

    They’re just waiting on those darn permitivity tests.

  9. In my opinion, Weir’s credibility is growing very thin.
    I would be willing to give him the benefit of a doubt with at least a little credible information.
    With absolutely no information from Weir or EEStor, investing in EEStor or Weir would be very risky, in my opinion. I would really like to see some credible information from EEStor (Weir) with some basic physics that demonstrates his designs will work. Without credible information, it is probable but not certain, that Weir’s ultracapacitor design has serious technical porblems and no amount of funding can change the reality of the basic laws of physics. Weir needs to either speak up with some real data and defend his concept, or please, find another career of selling Texas swamp land.

  10. It would be nice to see the EEStor part finally arrive. But they better get moving.

    Harris (Intersil) is working on a hyper capacitor, as is a company in Minneapolis that I am under NDA to not name. There appear to be at least 3 companies working on similar technologies on the Asian Rim, and Maxwell, well-known in the super capacitor field, is rumored to working on something now too. From what I’ve been able to gather, barium titanate is only one of the approaches; some of the others use far less exotic materials and are yielding (at least, experimentally) larger energy densities.

  11. If the Comment above is True About Military uses, Then If we get Domestic production up and Running and then Get rid of our Foreign oil Dependcy. Then We wouldnt Need as many Higher tech Uniforms acrost the seas to Protect Foreign Oil Interest. and the We could go back to just Protecting Israel, Like We Should Be Doing.

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