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Zenn Says Lithium Off the Table, Still Bets on EEStor

zenn-logoIf Canadian electric vehicle maker Zenn Motor Co. once saw lithium-ion batteries as a possible alternative to devices from its controversial investment in ultracapacitor developer EEStor, the more standard technology is now officially out of the running for its future cars. According to Zenn’s third-quarter results release, out today, the company’s engineering group “re-evaluated a number of lithium-based power-packs for inclusion in its solutions” between April and the end of June. But those efforts, in the context of what Zenn calls “the progressed state of development” of EEStor’s technology, have brought the company to teh following conclusion: Lithium does not offer “an economically viable power source for its offerings.”

In essence, Zenn is saying that if everything goes well with EEStor’s tech, it will be more economical than currently available lithium-ion offerings. It seems to have already evaluated the lithium-ion technology gaining support from the U.S. government and being used by other automakers, such as General Motors (s GM) for its Chevy Volt and Toyota (s TM) for the trial versions of a plug-in Prius. Taking lithium off the table seems, in part, like a vote of confidence for EEStor.

But it’s also interesting that Zenn chose to reevaluate an alternative to EEStor in these last few months. Zenn has invested millions of dollars in EEStor for an approximately 10.7 percent stake in the company, and now says it has only one remaining milestone payment (pending delivery of a production-quality energy storage unit). Well, when technology like EEStor’s is so new, it doesn’t hurt to have a Plan B.

Plus, there are plenty of risks associated with the investment. As Zenn explains in its filing, EEStor’s technology is still under development and “may not be successfully commercialized at all, in a manner providing the features and benefits claimed…or on a timely basis.” And even if EEStor manages to deliver on its promise, Zenn “may not be able to successfully incorporate the technology into its current or proposed products.” You can read the full analysis from Zenn here.

7 Responses to “Zenn Says Lithium Off the Table, Still Bets on EEStor”

  1. John Branca

    I’m Really disappointed in some of those statement , be they the standard speel or a hint into not getting the power usage that was claimed to achievable with the new eestor devise. Its also strange that pretty much every article I read on this supposed devise has a date between 2006-2008. All of the claims seem to be the same within all the article. How has so much time passed and there is no working devise to show off this break through technology?

  2. Robert Miller

    I am an attorney. The language “…may not be successfully commercialized at all, in a manner providing the features and benefits claimed…or on a timely basis” is a standard legal securities disclaimer. You will find that attached to virtually every statement issued by a public company. The statement by itself means nothing.