12 Comments

Summary:

We’ve always wondered why, if high-profile Texas energy storage startup EEstor has such disruptive technology, it did an exclusive deal with small Toronto-based electric automaker Zenn Motor Co. for small- and mid-sized cars. EEstor’s energy storage technology can supposedly provide 10 times the energy of lead-acid […]

We’ve always wondered why, if high-profile Texas energy storage startup EEstor has such disruptive technology, it did an exclusive deal with small Toronto-based electric automaker Zenn Motor Co. for small- and mid-sized cars. EEstor’s energy storage technology can supposedly provide 10 times the energy of lead-acid batteries at one-tenth the weight and half the price, and move a car 400 kilometers after a 5-minute charge.

Well the Globe and Mail was wondering the same thing, and as such asked Zenn Motor founder Ian Clifford why EEstor made such an important deal with Zenn and not some large automaker. Clifford tells the paper that last year EEstor was raising development funding for its untested technology by selling licences to the rights for various applications; Zenn paid $2.5 million for the rights to use the tech for small- to mid-size cars, and then invested another $2.5 million into the energy storage maker.

Clifford says Zenn had the opportunity because the big automakers wanted to make safer bets on more well-tested technology than EEstor’s. In addition, both companies had cultures of being young and passionate. In describing the EEstor deal to the Globe and Mail, Clifford said:

“We were willing to take the risk when no one else would. Part of it was a leap of faith, part was due to diligence…We were like angel investors, in at the ground floor, able to negotiate a strategic agreement which, when they commercialize, will creative a massive global opportunity.”

Now that EEstor is a little more high profile and has started to show some testing milestones, we’re wondering how EEstor sees the deal in hindsight? Perhaps they’re kicking themselves for being held to a deal with a smaller automaker. It would also be interesting to see if EEstor has made it onto the radar of the big automakers — while they’re busy riding their green cars to D.C. this week, they can feel rest assured that for a miniscule investment a few years ago (Zenn’s $5 million) they could have secured first dibs on a promising EV tech.

That’s not to say that EEstor is a sure thing. The energy storage maker is behind on its estimated production start dates and is still quiet about how its technology is so revolutionary.

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By Katie Fehrenbacher

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  1. EESTOR is a scam!

    That “milestone” that was mentioned was complete BS – this milestone states that the french fry machine is capable of cooking fries at some temperature, and that the employees are capable of using the fry machine. It says absolutely nothing about actually making fries! yes the fry machine has to be able to cook at a certain temperature, and yes the employees must know how to use the fry machine – but there is nothing there that implies that fries will ever be made.

    Do you think that Toyota is worried about Eestor and their technology? Absolutely not – Eestor is a joke! Kleiner Perkins an initial investor has erased any mention of Eestor from their website. Why do you think this is the case? Eestor, according to public records has 9 employees – 3 of them have the last name of “Weir” and dad is the CEO. The world HQ is located between the yoga center and a car insurance office – this is a scam.

  2. we shall know in a few weeks…

  3. There is certainly a great question about the wisdom of EEStor signing an exclusive with Zenn. The implication that ZENN were the only people willing to take a chance seems unlikely. There are LOTS of VC ready to do that. But if the Zenn deal , signed late 2005, was ridiculously restrictive, how can anybody give EEStor ANY credibility after duplicating the stupidity Sept. 2008 by signing “a WORLD-WIDE Exclusive Technology Agreement” with Light Electric Vehicles Company (LEVCO) for two and three wheel vehicles? LEVCO is a complete nonentity. They haven’t built so much as a skateboard.

    These two cataclysmic, stupid, exclusive agreements have taken EEStor completely off my radar screen. I’m banking, literally, on Maxwell Technology.

  4. Look at the Zenn agreement closely, you will note that there are limits; primarily, vehicle weight. Then note the gross vehicle weight of the Chevy Volt. I conclude you are selling the Big Three short. They are simply waiting, quietly, for proven technology. And any (or all) of the Big Three can bring their guns to bear when the time comes and the technology is proven. Albeit, Zenn made a great deal, but it’s not a monopoly. Does anyone know the projected production capacity of the EEstor factory? That would be telling.

  5. EEstor made a license deal with ZMC. I do not see any details about the cost of the product. EEStor can give ZMC the license to sell the product, but EEstor has not restricted the price of the unit. So, I do not see anything wrong with the deal from EEstor’s vantage point, they can still charge $1 million dollars per battery if they can get away with it. ZMC, if they have an iron-clad agreement, will get gobbled up in a bidding war if this thing plays out. That is all that Ian Clifford is hoping for. His $2.00 per share company will get eaten up for $200 per share by GMC or ??? At $2.00, it is a lottery ticket, that is all. I have some of those tickets.

  6. Zenn highway car powered by EEstor – Page 5 – Tesla Motors Club Forum Wednesday, December 17, 2008

    [...] article which explains why EEstor hooked up with Zenn instead of a larger car company: Why EEstor Hooked Up With Zenn Earth2Tech [...]

  7. Surely the aim is to get every car company to franchise and install Zenn/EESTOR technology aka ‘powered by intel’. It seems to me that to get universal uptake then they either have to start and grow a holding company themselves or go in with a like minded partner. Using an established large car manufacturer would have destroyed that possibility. Bob Bangkok

  8. EEStor Missing ZENN Milestones in 2008 « Earth2Tech Friday, December 26, 2008

    [...] does that mean 2009 is the big year for EEStor and ZENN, which plans to use EEStor’s energy storage device in an electric car? ZENN’s Clifford seems to think so — Hamilton quotes Clifford as saying that [...]

  9. You fools! EEscam is a classic scam. Fantastic claims, hype, secrecy and missed milestones.

    They actually said they didn’t have enough funding to proceed! What a joke. If they even had one prototype cap that covered even 1/4 of their promise they would have unlimited funding.

    Some people are just so trusting. Now I know why there are so many victims in the world. Just sad.

    The next delay will be announced soon.

    Did you all notice how Clifford sounds like a lawyer every time the word EEstor comes up? Exactly. A lawyer is who he is going to be talking to soon. I feel sorry for Zenn investors. Hey, it had good entertainment value. Right?

    Weir should be tarred and feathered after this scam. Not only did it cost money but delayed other important investments. Criminal in my eyes.

  10. EEStor, Zenn Take it Up a Notch, But Waiting Game Continues Wednesday, July 22, 2009

    [...] its exclusive deal for small and midsize cars with high-profile energy storage startup EEStor, was the fact that the bigger automakers didn’t want to take a risky bet on early-stage technology that didn’t have a lot of [...]

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