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Summary:

Updated: Zenn Motor‘s first highway-speed electric car, the cityZenn, is still on the way, but it may take a bit longer to get to market than originally planned, thanks to the slow moves of its energy storage partner EEStor. Zenn said this week that it’s waiting […]

Updated: Zenn Motor‘s first highway-speed electric car, the cityZenn, is still on the way, but it may take a bit longer to get to market than originally planned, thanks to the slow moves of its energy storage partner EEStor. Zenn said this week that it’s waiting for the ultracapacitor technology from stealthy EEStor and doesn’t expect an initial introduction of the car until late 2009, with commercial availability in 2010. We contacted Zenn for clarification on what “initial introduction” means, exactly (Update: Zenn says “initial introduction” is introduction of a prototype/early production unit to press/industry). Zenn previously said it was targeting a fall 2009 launch for the cityZenn.

zenn_blue

So, what’s going on with EEStor? Toronto-based Zenn says it’s waiting for two final milestones in its contract with EEStor, but that the Cedar Park, Texas-based ultracapacitor developer is making “significant progress” in building out a full-scale production facility. Unfortunately, EEStor’s ultracapacitor — essentially a really advanced battery system — is at the heart of the cityZenn, which means the new car literally can’t move until either more progress is made on those ultracapacitors, or Zenn decides to switch to a different ultracapacitor or battery system.

This isn’t the first ultracapacitor delay from EEStor. The startup, backed by Kleiner Perkins, as well as Zenn, was originally set to have its ultracapacitors ready in mid-2008.

But if EEStor delivers on its promises, it may be worth the wait. Zenn, which currently makes low-speed electric vehicles, hitched its wagon to technology from EEStor because of the potential to get a leg up on the competition. The cityZenn is expected to have a top speed of 80 miles per hour and a range of 250 miles, with that EEStor ultracapacitor allowing the car to recharge in less than 5 minutes using a special charging station.

Early last year, EEStor reached a purity testing and production capacity milestone, but Zenn is still waiting on third-party verification of permittivity testing, as well as the last step — the receipt of an actual product from EEStor by Zenn.

Despite EEStor’s secretive operations, the startup has attracted interest from other companies besides Zenn, including Lockheed Martin, which is looking at developing body armor using EEStor’s technology, and Light Electric Vehicles, which said it signed an exclusive deal to use EEstor’s ultracapacitors in two- and three-wheeled vehicles.

Photo of a low-speed Zenn courtesy of the company.

By David Ehrlich

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  1. ENOUGH WITH THIS CRAP OF EESTOR!!!

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  2. EEscam is (at best) exaggerating the actual capabilities of their product and at worst is a complete fraud, and there is no product. I suspect we’ll see them get the Madoff treatment in a year or so.

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  3. The basics idea behind EEstor’s “super-capacitor” is using a material with a high dielectric constant (some titanate compound) coated with high dielectric strength material ( maybe glass or some amorphe oxide). But if you remember the physics class about capacitors, you will see that layers of different dielectric materials between a capacitor plates will act like series connected capacitors, each having its capacitance function of its dielectric. Capacitors connected series will always have a total capacitance lower than the lowest capacitance in the circuit. If you make some calculations you can see that EEstors claims are completely impossible being a total fraud!

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  4. My next new car will get 100mpg or equivalent or I may die before then……
    I may be a dreamer but imagine if EESTOR is successful
    then electric cars will be a viable option to a gas ICE….
    or I’m hoping MicroBubble Technologies is successful with their CNT (Carbon nanotube ) Lead acid battery
    If either are successful I’ll have a 100mpg equivalent car at a reasonable price since with either option a 50KWH battery pack would cost less than $3,000.
    To charge these vehicles I’m dreaming that Blacklight Power will be successful…

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  5. Let’s get real folks with all this Eestor fantasy. Even if they have something close to what they claim, it is a high probability the technology will be suppressed by our beloved status quo defenders, therefore as long as the above mentioned entities exist all we can expect from this company is the extension of this dream for those who refuse to wake up!

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  6. [...] under extreme temperatures — represents the third of four milestones set up (as we’ve noted before) as part of Zenn’s investment agreement. The fourth milestone is the delivery of a commercial [...]

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  7. [...] behind. Zenn has had to delay its electric car based on EEStor’s technology as a result of waiting on EEStor and doesn’t expect an initial introduction of the vehicle until late 2009, with commercial [...]

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  8. [...] Startups vying to get first in line for those acquisitions will likely have to move faster than the rate EEStor is going. [...]

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  9. [...] and Zenn CEO Ian Clifford still being chronoptimists? The companies say Zenn’s car will be initially introduced in late 2009, with commercial availability in 2010. We’ll [...]

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  10. [...] and move a car 400 kilometers after a 5-minute charge) and slipped behind on production timelines, delaying introduction of the Canada automaker’s planned cityZenn [...]

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