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Feel Good Cars Tuning Up for Production; EEStor ESU on Track

14 April 2006

Zenn
The ZENN

Feel Good Cars Corporation (FGC) is tuning up for the production of its ZENN low-speed electric vehicle.

Of particular note is that in September 2005, FGC entered into an agreement with the taciturn EEStor to acquire worldwide exclusive rights to purchase EEStor’s new Energy Storage Unit—a high-power-density ceramic ultracapacitor—for the small vehicle market and golf carts (up to 100 HP and 1,200 kgs curb weight).

The EEStor ESU is projected to offer up to 10x the energy density (volumetric and gravimetric) of lead-acid batteries at the same cost. In addition, the ESU is projected to store up to 1.5 to 2.5 times the energy of Li-Ion batteries at 12 to 25% of the cost.

As a solid state energy storage device, the ESU is projected to have virtually unlimited life of deep-cycle usage in addition to being rechargeable in just minutes.

The technology, about which not much information is currently available, is considered a potential “game-changer,” and attracted a $3M lead investment from heavyweight venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins.

EEStor recently informed FGC that it continues on schedule in the commercialization of the ESU. FGC is up to date and current with its commitments to EEStor Inc. with the next milestone consisting of independent 3rd party verification of EEStor’s technology, expected during the summer of 2006.

The ZENN currently is based on six 12V heavy-duty valve-regulated sealed lead-acid AGM batteries. The car currently has a top speed of 25 mph, and a range of approximately 35 miles (approximately 56 km). A full recharge takes 8 to 9 hours, 80% rechargeable in four hours.

FGC has leased a 40,000 square foot production facility in the City of St. Jerome, north of Montreal, Quebec and expects to receive its first shipment of 48 ZENN (Zero Emission No Noise) host vehicles from Microcar during May 2006.

Initial production ZENN vehicles are scheduled to be shipped to dealers during the summer of 2006.

Last month, the company began a two-coast US-based dealer tour; three production prototype ZENN vehicles are involved in the tours. Dealer tours will continue throughout May and June 2006.

April 14, 2006 in Batteries, Electric (Battery) | Permalink | Comments (28) | TrackBack (0)

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I am glad to see that someone is offering a green alternative to the gasoline car ! I only whish it had better performance... A 40 km/h speed limit is a problem since most streets over here have a 50 km/h speed limit and most people in real life "push" the limit to 60 km/h... Ideally a the car could do 60 km/h
because it becomes a safety issue. If you don't move
fast enough you become a rolling obstacle and every other car wants to get ahead of you...

It can't go very far and it can't go very fast. So it would have to be a second vehicle. Seems like an expensive investment when one could buy a pushbike, motorbike or use public transport.

This is great news. I hope EEStor's ESU system will be a real thing not hype. But seeing is believing.

It is a pig with the Lead acid batteries.
With the mysterious EEStor ESU (if it works) it would be a silk purse. Even with NiMh, you could probably get decent performance out of it.
They should make it modular and invite people to modify the batteries etc. If the chassis and drivetrain were up to it, they could get a decent car with less engineering work.

"In addition, the ESU is projected to store up to 1.5 to 2.5 times the energy of Li-Ion batteries at 12 to 25% of the cost."

That reeks of "If it's too good to be true, it probably is." Usually cutting edge battery technology debuts in small, low cost items like cel phones and laptop computers where things like maximum life with minimum weight are huge assets and they can typically get away with charging a premium for long life or low weight. This magic battery would not only be much longer life, but a tiny fraction of the cost.

To be honest, that almost sounds like a pump-and-dump financial scam where they are just trying to get investors to send them a couple million dollars then fold up the company and pocket the money.

Top speed of 25, range of 35 miles, recharge time of 8 hours. Buy a bike!

My wife saw the story in a local newspaper and she wants
one for running local errant. I am suspicious of the Eestor`s
claims because supercapacitors have 10x the power density of
batteries but 1/10 the energy density of batteries. If they succeded
in producing a supercapacitor of this magnitude then a prototype
would proove their claim. Nevertheless the current model of
Feelgoodcars uses lead-acid batteries much to my dismay.
Maybe FGC should investigate using Valence’s Saphion
Batteries instead ???

mahonj:....I fully agree with you. The customer should be able to chose the type of battery pack and pay accordingly. I'll try to visit the assembly plant next week (if it exist). It is only about 55 Km from our place. Will advise what I found within 10 days.

Sid is right, the tech sounds too good to be true.

But, the examples Sid gave may not apply to this technology because it may not scale down to cell phone size very well. Maybe it gets hot, or requires high pressure case or something else that is practical at larger sizes.

Also, they have secured $3M from an experienced investor (he got in early on google and amazon, apparently) and I don't imagine such an investor would throw that much money at a product that he hasn't at least seen a demonstration of.

Counting against them, though is the fact that they signed an exclusive agreement with FGC for all low-speed vehicles. They must know their technology could be a game changer and that an established battery distributor would be a better partner to sell to the golf cart market (which is infinitely larger than the low speed vehicle market that FGC is aiming at).

This makes me think they don't know the market potential of their tech (unlikely), are sacrificing their position in the low speed vehicle market in order to get the money needed to get closer to production and access bigger markets (possible), or have pulled the wool over FGC's and Mr. Perkin's eyes and we won't any more from them (possible, but unfortunate).

In any case, we'll find out soon enough when they do or don't have their tech independently certified.

I think everyones' enthusiasm is blinding them of reallity. Even if every one of Eestor's claims about their capacitor are true, there are other hurdles ahead. FGC is really just a guinea pig. Larger car companies can look at FGC and find answers to important questions.

1) Is there a sizeable demand for electric cars?
2) At what price point does this demand exist?
3) Can Eestor scale their production to meet demand?

And for electric cars to replace gas cars people would have to adjust their driving habits. Even if you have a car that has a 300+ mile range that can charge in 5 mins, the reallity is that it might take 30 mins. Which means charging overnight, charging at work or where you shop, or charging it in 5 minute intervals at a charging station.

Hey do you remember the GEO EV1?
here's the link:
http://www.greencarcongress.com/2005/05/new_korean_ev_m.html

Isn't it apparently the same car?
The problem is that production hasn't started and the whole company vanished! Try this! www.geoev.com

It's something strange! I'm suspicious abou this story!

FGC looks legitimate because of multiple apperances and
public display of their product. The real question is
about future products using EEstor's device. From the patent application it's a 31 Farad 3.5KV supercapacitor
that can store 52kwh of power. If true this is a 1000 fold increase in supercapacitor voltage and since the stored power increase with the square of the voltage
a fairly modest supercapacitor can outperform most batteries. I can't wait to see how they managed to do this because capacity is a function of the thickness of
the insulator and typically supercapacitors have extremely thin insulators to get the desired capacity that is also why their operating voltage is so low, thin insulators don't survive to high voltages.
This is either a great development or a great scam !

An update after 10 days was promised. Any news?

Chris

I have hear from someone that visited them that they arent really inventing a capacitor.. its a ceramic capacitor.. but what they are really doing is making the insulator as pure as possible to withstand big voltage.. and making this pure is hard job.. so thats what they are inventing.. inventing a fast and low cost way of purifying the insulator in bulk quantities...

http://www.rexresearch.com/weir/weir.htm
Has all the information from various press and blog reports as well as the very informative patent.

From Wikipedia article "Supercapacitors":

As of spring 2006, EEStor Inc. claims to have a supercapacitor with a barium titanate dielectric nearing production. The company claims a unit with 31 farads capacitance and an operating voltage of 3.5 kV, capable of storing up to 340 Wh/kg and charging or discharging at up to 3.5 kW/Kg (52 kWh = 187 MJ and 520 kW - 6 minute charging time - for the 152 Kg unit), lifetime of over 1,000,000 discharge cycles and leakage of less than 0.1% per month [US Patent 7,033,406]with a cost of $40-$60 per kWh ($3,200 - $2,100 per unit). [BusinessWeek , 3 September 2005]. The technology is scheduled for third-party verification during the summer of 2006.

Bonjour, j'aimerais vraiment savoir comment pourais-je faire pour appliquer pour la fabrication de véhicule électrique, j'ai un DEP à montréal en aérospatial (électrique, harnais électrique et beaucoup plus) et j'aimerais vraiment faire parti de la compagnie pour la fabrication de la ZENN ou tout autre véhicule électrique. Merci beaucoup, Matthias.

this seems alot like the zinc air fuel cells, whitch use zinc mixed with Oxygen as the energy. It's only 200Wh/kg compared to said 340Wh/kg of EEStor's. Maybe it's an improved zinc air cell?
zinc-air:
http://www.poweraircorp.com/
http://www.electric-fuel.com/ev/index.shtml

No, this is a capacitor, completely different technology, as this can charge and discharge millions of times. Zinc air batteries are not even rechargable at present, though a German company has claimed a rechargable version. Zinc air suffers in comparison to this potential capacitor (though I'm beginning to have my doubts, 1 year after it was revealed), with Lithium ion showing more promise. Hopefully there will be some real breakthrough in one of this technologies that will actually make it to production.

Hi Anonymous,

I have not read through all the references given, but for what its worth, I commonly use Barium Titanate capacitors in my work. These are electronic minuaturized parts, however. Barium Titanate does have extraordinary dielectric constant. The highest formulations used for electronic capacitors is around a relative dielectric constant of 6000, versus 1 for air. So, this would allow 6000 times the energy storage over an air dielectric. Or like 600 times over other other ceramics. Barium Titanate is a socalled Ferro-Electric dielectric.

I could not find anything on Wikipeading in "Supercapacitor" about it though.

I think the issue would be how do they achieve the needed area into the small volume. With a 5 mil spacing (if that even works for 3.5 KV!) one would need around 6200 square meters of surface area to achieve 31 Farads.

Andrew
3500 volts at 31 farads is indeed 52 KW-Hours.

Hi All,

I have just read through the patent on the rexresearch web site. They are claiming a 5 e 6 V/cm capability with a relative dielectric constant of 29480. I have heard of higher relative dielectric constant Barium Titanate formulations, but they are not commonly used in Electronics due to high temperature variability. At that field strength capbility, the thickness of the dielectric for 3500 volts only need be around .0003 inches.

The device aparently is not using any granularity , but very large version of what is commonly called "discoidal array" fabrication methods.

At these parameters the plate area to achieve 31 farads is about 832 square meters. This seems allot more likely now, if the 29480 Er and 5 e 6 V/cm capability is there.


Check out the Tesla Motor Co. for a winning electric car formula. For now, the battery will beat the capacitor in the marketplace.
All the same, I'll be watching this space - exciting things lie ahead.

Has anyone heard of this form of electrical(?) energy and what impact would it have on electrically powered vehicles? http://jnaudin.free.fr/html/qmmv11.htm

Has anyone heard of this form of electrical(?) energy and what impact would it have on electrically powered vehicles? http://jnaudin.free.fr/html/qmmv11.htm

Fingers crossed also. If these capacitors live up to claims, they sure as hell deserve to be launched in something more exciting than the Yugoish ZENN, "low-speed electric vehicle".

Maybe someday we can establish a standard for testing all these various new battery/capacitor claims, by calculating how far they could have cruised one of the old(now crushed) EV-1s.

Ceramic capacitors are not known for their high energy storage capacity. Barium titanate has been used to make ceramic capacitors for quite sometimes, and has nowhere near the energy capacity as claimed by EEStor company.

The claimed 52kwh capacity of the the EEstor device having 31 farads is due to the 3,500 V maximum voltage rating. However, automotive power inverters and power transformers are typically designed to handle battery voltages from 250-500 volts. Since Energy Stored = 1/2 Capacitance x VoltageSquared, reducing the 3,500V down to a more reasonable 500V will reduce the storage capacity of the EEstor from 52kwh down to 1kwh.

Otherwise, working with 3,500V in a personal vehicle is very lethal, especially in the event of an accident. High-voltage capacitors can explode violently upon aging of the dielectric material or other stresses that can lower the dielectric property of the material. In a chain reaction, the entire energy of this supercapacitor can be released as fast as a bomb explosion. If you wanna build a thick, thick bomb-proof casing to contain this 52kwh worth (~140lbs of TNT-equivalent) of energy that can be released in a flash, you will need a lot of carbon fiber layers that will be very heavy and costly. You might have better luck making a Compressed Hydrogen tank out of carbon-fiber reenforcement. H2 by itself without O2 cannot combust. Structural weakness in the carbon fiber tank may allow the H2 to leak out at a fast rate, but it will not explode.

Good luck, EEStor. Y'all will need every bit of it!

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