EEStor, the stealthy startup whose Electrical Energy Storage Unit (EESU) could revolutionize the auto industry, has yet to show off a production version of its EESU. The Cedar Park, Texas-based startup said in 2007 that it would be in production by mid 2008. Then that got bumped back to late 2008. Most recently, EEStor CEO Richard Weir told the Technology Review that production would start “as soon as possible in 2009.” So why all the production delays?
The folks at the GM-Volt blog, a site unaffiliated with GM, say they’ve got the word directly from Weir himself: the problem was a delay in adequate funding. Yesterday, the blog posted his response to questions about the status of the EESU:
As we stated in the beginning of 2008, properly funded EEStor, Inc. would anticipate in being in production status late in 2008. The funding that we did receive was not sufficient to meet the production status late in 2008 but as identified by our last news release, EEStor, Inc. has made excellent progress with that level of funding. EEStor, Inc. has secured a contract with Light Electric Vehicles, Inc. and this has allowed EEStor, Inc. to expedite or progress toward a production status.
Founded in 2001, EEStor reportedly received $3 million in backing from Kleiner Perkins in 2005, though the startup is not listed in Kleiner’s portfolio. Electric car maker ZENN Motor Cars invested $2.5 million in EEStor in 2007 for a 3.8 percent stake in the company.
EEStor signed deals with Lockheed Martin (s LMT) in January 2008 and with little-known Light Electric Vehicles last month. The financial details of the deals were not disclosed, but Weir’s comment to GM-Volt makes it sound like EEStor made a deal with Light Electric Vehicles at least in part to get the funding to finally move into production. EEStor did not immediately return a request for comment.