30 Comments

Summary:

When Darryl Siry, former Chief Marketing Officer for electric car maker Tesla, calculated the “implied value” for secretive ultracapacitor maker EEStor at over $1.5 billion, based on the entirety of Zenn Motor’s market cap, he was being somewhat cheeky. But the reasoning behind the calculation is […]

When Darryl Siry, former Chief Marketing Officer for electric car maker Tesla, calculated the “implied value” for secretive ultracapacitor maker EEStor at over $1.5 billion, based on the entirety of Zenn Motor’s market cap, he was being somewhat cheeky. But the reasoning behind the calculation is the reality: The Canadian electric vehicle maker has given up on its previous car business and placed its entire fortunes on the promises of EEStor.

Last month Zenn CEO Ian Clifford told reporters of his change in strategy, and that Zenn would no longer plan to sell its own higher-speed electric vehicle (the cityZENN car), and would also “shift focus away” from the low-speed electric it currently sells. While Clifford has had this vision of an “Intel Inside model” with EEStor for awhile (selling the ultracaps for other companies’ cars the way Intel’s chips are used in many companies’ PCs) he had not yet let the world know that he was trimming away any part of the company not based on the EEStor technology.

So, as Siry put it, that announcement was “a moment of clarity for Zenn – recognition that the entire value of the company lies with its speculative bet on EEStor’s game changing technology claims, and not with the expected value of its now abandoned car business.” Hence the equivalent of Zenn’s stock and market cap with EEStor’s hoped for value.

Clifford, readily admits that fact, and tells Toronto Star reporter Tyler Hamilton in an article this week:

The entire aspect of our business model is dependent on EEStor commercializing that technology. . . The transformative moment is with the commercial proof, and then the whole tenor of the discussion changes to the excitement about the reality.

Clifford says he is now in “the same waiting game as everybody else,” and just waiting for the delivery of the first commercial unit from EEStor before the end of the year — so about two and a half months from now.

During a lunch a few months ago Siry and I were chatting about how some of the entrepreneurs and investors he and I have worked and talked with in Silicon Valley have such an unbelievably high tolerance for risk (notably his former boss Elon Musk). I remember both of us grimacing at the thought of being under that kind of pressure of raising and losing millions. Clifford must be feeling that kind of pressure every day at this point — with the added stress that he has absolutely no control over the situation.

You’re subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

By Katie Fehrenbacher

You're subscribed! If you like, you can update your settings

  1. My bet is that EEStor doesn’t deliver by the end of the year. They have failed on so many deadlines.

  2. EEStor, are playing a loosing game. They have been working on this for years now an they haven’t given even the slightest tadbit to show they have anything. I expect something to appear in Wikileaks saying it was all a scam.

  3. In 2004 FGC ( Zenn before the name change ) chose as their partner a ridiculous hydrogen from zinc and acid scam called Alternate Energy Corp. AEC was pitching the idea of hauling around tons ( yes tons ) of water, acid, and metal pellets to generate hydrogen on demand. No AEC did not deliver either. Who but just about anyone with even a very modest science education would have known that using expensive and heavy refined metals and water is a completely impractical and uneconomical way to fuel a car? FGC would have us believe that they never had such thoughts.

    1. Moved on from debunking Steorn now have we Penny. Having a crack at debunking EESTOR for kicks these days I see.

      1. Steorn’s own jury put the final nail in Steorn’s coffin. Don’t tell me you still believe in that scam.

  4. Baghead Brendan Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    “NOW IN THE SAME WAITING GAME AS EVERYBODY ELSE”

    Ian Clifford must have amnesia. Can someone remind Ian he/Zenn has been in this “waiting game” since 2006 for EESCAM to deliver:

    “[ZENN president Ian Clifford] He is confident that EEStor will pull the wraps of their mysterious “battery” very soon; his exact word was “imminent” and that I could, in fact, hold my breath for their announcement. “(Bill Moore, EV World, November 29, 2006) http://www.evworld.com/article.cfm?storyid=1145

    EESTOR “to deliver production units, the end of calendar 07, they appear to be on track with that” from Ian Clifford’s mouth. YOUTUBE video September 2007 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1rpkLLRK8c

  5. Gorilla article and gorilla posts trying to bring down Zenn.

  6. what i first locked onto and have been thinking over…and seeing some hints elsewhere that its a real phenom, its not just my cynical/hyperobservant take on Zenn …is this.

    They quit manufacturing and went for the packaging and marketing. They went for the lean and they eschewed the cash intensive fabrication and all that old economy tedium.

    They decided they were valuable for being there and not for doing the grunt work of delivering goods. They wanted to be in the ivory office with the view, and not on the shop floor when the bad days “happened.”

    Which is fine. But the angst is that this is so prevalent in post industrial america, this belief that we can get rich by 1. selling how to get rich books, 2. get rich selling merchandise we never have to buy, see or ship(as heard often on radio) or other variations on bill and teds excellent corporation.

    Maybe I’m being too hard on Tesla Inc. Never met the persons. Its just this thing that seems to pervasive in “business” now we don’t do industry so comfortably. Anybody else share the perspective ?

    1. I COMPLETELY second that.

      I worked for a company that manufactured showerheads for major retailers like Lowe’s and Home Depot. They were under constant and intense competitive pressure, especially as China developed. However, they were very agile and the owner had impeccable instincts in product design and aesthetics. They could have gone on forever developing new products every few years, charging a fair margin and outsourcing after several years of forced price reductions.

      Unfortunately the VP of Ops I worked for developed exactly the attitude that you’re describing. He had the neat idea of saving a few cents on product development by having a company in China develop the key injection molds. Then he reasoned “if they were doing the molds why not supply the parts?” Then when the parts didn’t fit together he reasoned they should supply the assemblies. The next thing you know, he’s pitching the owner of the company that they should be a “marketing” company and a “virtual manufacturer” ie. a purchasing department.

      I don’t know where they got the conceit that Lowe’s and the others wouldn’t have the intelligence to go directly to our Chinese vendor and cut us out once we weren’t really adding any more value to the process…

      I completely agree with your point – a company has to add some sort of value to deserve to exist.

      1. and yes…I don’t work there any more because they no longer exist :(

      2. There is a significant difference. Zenn provided the startup capital. Your company didn’t. Zenn has the rights to whatever product EEStor produces. Your company didn’t. Zenn took the risk. Yours didn’t. Your company gave away their product.

  7. I found out a little to late that eestor was a scam. I wish zenn luck but I had to part ways with eestor.

    1. How do you know they are a scam?

    2. Will the real Mort Topher please stand up, because a real Texan would never drop a comment like that and not present credentials, a 10 gallon hat or a pair of spurs.

  8. Back to the main topic…what about Lockheed? They also have a contract with EEStor?

    I can’t deny that it looks fishy but I think we’re all just dying to see something like this really happen and experience in our lifetime the effect this would have on our society, economy and geopolitics.

    We’re kind of stuck in an in between state where the collapse has been averted and the recession may be over but we’re waiting for the next big thing to come along to psychologically drive the next period of growth and prosperity.

  9. It is far better to wait for an EESU to be delivered to Zenn and tested to see if it works, than to invest now in Zenn stock. Znn.To is up and down like a toilet seat. The non-authorized disclosure of Dick Weir’s phone call sent the stock up from $4 to $6 in a few weeks. Now if Weir had a public interview and expressed the same time frame, then we would have something viable. But do we really believe everything Dick Weir said in his off the record phone call he made to an investment house to hype his battery? I think DW actually believe the things he said on the phone. Whether he can deliver on them is another question.

    Will EEStor deliver on time? Probably not. I wonder what odds the bookies are giving on EEStor meeting the Dec 31st deadline? 2:1? 3:1?
    We will all know in 71 days one way or the other.

    Brad

  10. IMO, the real issue is mass producing and commercializing a product (EESU) that works in the lab. Too often this is the most difficult & time consuming process. It is fraught with failures and competitors that beat them to the market.

    EEStor has NO choice but to hold their product close to the chest until they figure out how to mass produce it efficiently, with quality and in quantity.

    This why Dick’s conversations are focused on the production of the product. I believe that he has a working model. He just needs to be able to produce them and that is the tough part.

    Driving around with 3,500 volts and 50 kwh in under your hood or on some utility line is dangerous to say the least. Mass producing something like this without getting sued out of existence for product failure is real hard.

    1. Rick-
      I’ve been following EEstor for a while and must say that your
      explanation of the situation is the most reasonable I have heard.
      Thank you for the enlightenment.

    2. Right on, Rick! I like what you say. Not only does ZENN have to figure out how to retrofit the EESU to a variety of vehicles, they have to standardize the plugin fittings (plural) that will go on the vehicles, standardize the instruction manuals for the shops that will retrofit the vehicles, find the manufacturing facility that can produce with speed and efficiency the EESUs, and so on. The logistics of gearing up for such an enormous enterprise is surely daunting at the minimum. How would a cross country trip be feasible in an electric car unless the ability to plug in and recharge were available at all gas or recharging stations? Who will coordinate that once all cars are retrofitted with EESUs? I can just imagine the stampede once the EESU is produced and announced. Not only will ZENN profit from the retrofitting, but the almost 11% interest in EESTOR will yield big numbers once all things electric use the EESUs, including the electrified vest that LMT (Lockheed Martin) has contracted with EESTOR to produce for our soldiers in combat, such as my Army PFC son and Marine recruit daughter will use.

Comments have been disabled for this post