EEStor fails to deliver on ZENN hopes, but new patent shows improvement
Ian Clifford, chief executive of ZENN Motor Co., wrote in an e-mail Tuesday to investors and other friends of ZENN that, with respect to EEStor, “it appears less likely that we will have third-party verification of permittivity or the prototype EESU this year as we had hoped.”
It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone. EEStor CEO Dick Weir said as much back in late October. Barring some last-minute help from Santa, ZENN and everyone else will have to wait until 2009. But Clifford is staying positive. “I firmly believe that 2009 will be the year that the automotive industry changes forever — and not just because of the current economic turmoil we are all familiar with, but led by the commercialization of disruptive zero-emission automotive solutions by ZMC.”
Clifford also says he’s encouraged by the latest U.S. patent issued to EEStor dated Dec. 16. It gives EEStor another layer of intellectual property protection, and after a quick scan of this patent it appears Mr. Weir and team have made some important refinements on the road to commercialization. He also goes into much greater detail describing the manufacturing process. According to the patent, “The 31,351 components (of the EESU) are configured into a multilayer array with the use of a solder-bump technique as the enabling technology so as to provide a parallel configuration of components that has the capability to store at least 52.22 kW-h of electrical energy. The total weight of an EESU with this amount of electrical energy storage is 281.56 pounds including the box, connectors, and associated hardware.”
I found the weight interesting, because last I remember — and I may be out-of-date with my facts — EEStor was talking about 52 kilowatt-hours with a weight of 400 pounds. It appears, then, that EEStor is claiming to have improved the energy density by at least 44 per cent. Someone, please correct me if I’m wrong here. In any event, the latest patent offers up some juicy details.
I should point out that the interest that has built up around EEStor, no doubt made more dramatic by the company’s secrecy and bold claims, has become the focus of a new documentary being produced by an L.A. filmmaker. The guy was in town last week interviewing folks at ZENN and yours truly. It will be interesting to see the final product, which could be completed sometime in 2009. I’m told that Dick Weir has so far declined an on-camera interview.
One of the questions this film maker asked me was: Where’s Carl Nelson in all of this? It’s a good question. The man, after all, is a co-founder of EEStor and his name appears along with Weir’s on all patents. I’m not entirely sure what his role is in the company, but he certainly has kept an extremely low profile. Does anyone have insight on Nelson’s role? If so, please share.