EEStor Missing ZENN Milestones in 2008

It’s looking pretty official that EEStor won’t be able to reach two important milestones for its automaker partner ZENN Motors by the end of 2008: delivering a prototype energy storage device and a having a third-party verify the high level of permittivity of the powders it’s using in its technology. Tyler Hamilton of Clean Break quotes a letter that Ian Clifford, the CEO of ZENN Motors, sent out this week to ZENN investors that states EEStor isn’t likely to meet either of those goals in the remaining days of 2008.

EEStor CEO Dick Weir had already said back in August that the company wouldn’t be producing its electrical energy storage units (EESU) until sometime in 2009 — a deadline that was pushed back from mid-2008 — so the failure to meet these goals for ZENN isn’t a big shocker. Weir has also said that the previous delay in production was due to a delay in adequate funding, but said that the company had made progress with the necessary funding since then.

So 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 “2009 will be the year that the automotive industry changes forever,” because of the vehicle that ZENN will commercialize using EEStor’s technology. And EEStor did finally have its patent issued, on Dec. 16, which represents a milestone at least for the company’s ability to defend its intellectual property.

Others aren’t so sure that EEStor will ever deliver, given the company’s history of secrecy and missed milestones — any story about EEStor elicits an unusually high number of skeptical comments. If the company fails to meet its goals and production plans for 2009, then it’s probably a good indicator it’s having more than just funding problems, but real technical issues.