ZENN Motor Targets Highway-Capable, EEStor-Powered Vehicle for 2009
29 March 2008
During its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders, ZENN Motor Company Inc. (ZMC) said that it is targeting the launch of the cityZENN EV, powered by EEStor, for the fall of 2009. The cityZENN is planned to be a fully certified, highway capable vehicle with a top speed of 125 kph (80 mph) and a range or 400 kilometers (250 miles). The cityZENN is supposed to be rechargeable in less than 5 minutes.
EEStor is the developer of what it says is a new high-power-density ceramic ultracapacitor (the Energy Storage Unit—EESU). 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. (Earlier post.)
EEStor has publicly committed to commercialization in 2008 and their first production line will be used to supply ZENN Motor Company.—Ian Clifford, Chief Executive Officer
ZENN Motor Company also plans to expand its low-speed product lineup for the 2009 model year with a four-passenger and a utility LSV (Low-Speed Vehicle).
The company said that it also plans to work with strategic OEMs to offer a ZENNergy drivetrain, powered by EEStor, in various vehicle platforms as ZENN-branded vehicles. ZENNergy drive systems will also be developed for the retrofitting and conversion of existing internal combustion vehicles to electric drive. Company management said that the initial target for these retrofit kits will be large, high-profile fleet opportunities.
In addition to ZMC’s exclusive technology agreement with EEStor for new vehicles up to 1,400 kg (curb weight), and the global rights to ALL retrofit conversions of existing internal combustion vehicles to electric, ZENN is also an equity investor in EEStor
We can just hope, that this is true. For vaporware, they are pretty consistent though (I have been following EESTOR news for a while).
ZENN made a pretty good deal with the global retrofit rights and the <1400kg electric North-American license. (Assuming the EESTOR battery gets close to promises).
Posted by: sola | 29 March 2008 at 04:01 AM
Does this mean they are currently working with a prototype? Otherwise, I'm not sure how they could get a car on the road by 2009.
EEStor aside, can they get all of their crash testing done by 2009?
I'm going to dare to hope that all this works out.
Posted by: Neil | 29 March 2008 at 05:17 AM
Twice the energy of Li at 1/4 the cost?
YEAAAAAA ! ! ! ...
(er ... can we see 'em for sale soon?)
Posted by: John Taylor | 29 March 2008 at 05:59 AM
If they intend to commercialize this technology in 2008 the most apparent option is to sell the NEVs from ZENN with this capacitator later in the year. They claim it costs the same as lead-acid which is about $250-300 per kWh so it should not increase the price of their NEVs.
Like Neil I am skeptical that they can get a highway speed vehicle ready for sale in 2009 unless they already have a working prototype of the car and the capacitator. It would be more convincing if they could show the public a working prototype. Alternatively it would be very convincing if they start selling the NEVs with that capacitator later this year.
Posted by: Henrik | 29 March 2008 at 06:36 AM
I guess my question is what benefit does all the secrecy provide. Zenn is public but eestor is not. This could be the motivation but it is not likely. Motive application aside they could easily have the ultra-capacitor (UC) independently tested. Even a modest success would launch a stellar IPO. And by waiting they risk being trumped by some other technology. My guess is that their UC is not working, not manufacturable on a large scale, or at least not close to living up to their claims.
Posted by: s dogood | 29 March 2008 at 07:08 AM
short the ZENN stock!
Posted by: | 29 March 2008 at 07:11 AM
Couldn't they just take one of their existing NEVs, and chuck a capacitor right on to it?
If anything the only real snag isn't the technology, it's the federal crash tests.
Posted by: GreyFlcn | 29 March 2008 at 08:03 AM
I think they can be ready with the highway capable vehicle since they don't need the actual EESTOR unit for the development. They need the exact specifcation of the product (size, power, temperature tolerance...etc) but they can do most of the prototyping with less powerful batteries. And I am sure they can get some working prototype units as well from EESTOR for the tests.
Posted by: sola | 29 March 2008 at 08:34 AM
I agree with the consensus view. EEStor as shown the same pattern as many of the vapor-ware energy related vendors. Always coming real soon now.
In fact, they promised something in Fall 2007 and Fall 2008. Now it is fall 2009. I can't help but think if this super capacitor worked they would call Bob Lutz at GM now for the Chevy Volt.
Posted by: sagneta | 29 March 2008 at 08:53 AM
Zenn will probably use a known existing road tested small/mini vehicle and modify (equip) it with their electrical drive + EEStor (20-30 KWh?) unit; similarly to the modified Prius-PHEV or use a vehicle developed for Project Better Place or others.
This could reduce the time required to build/assemble a few e-units for further govermental road safety tests in late 2009 or 2010. I doubt that Zenn ever had the intention to build the vehicle body.
Either way, a road tested small (under 1400 Kg) unit for end of 2009 seems to be very optimistic.
Posted by: Harvey D | 29 March 2008 at 09:00 AM
Well, that's is quite a risky anouncement, hope it is based on real progress. It is difficult to understand what's really going out. It might be a sign that the whole thing is about to collapse when people tend to inflate their promise, just to stretch as much as possible to keep it afloat as lob as you can. On the other hand, we can understand that they are so secretive if they are really about to make such a breakthroug, better to protect your invention...let's see
Posted by: Treehugger | 29 March 2008 at 10:45 AM
It's amazing how long they can keep their feeble minded fan-boys hopes up. Even after sensible people thoroughly explained that they would have to break the laws of physics, to do what they claim. They have no patents on anything revolutionary. Never even claimed to have a working prototype. But it is always 'right around the corner'. For years it has.
Please just ignore these scammers. They are making millions on the hype that you are supporting.
Posted by: Magnus | 29 March 2008 at 11:18 AM
Magnus, they seem to have suckered some pretty "sensible people" at Lockheed Martin. What do they know eh?
Posted by: Scatter | 29 March 2008 at 11:47 AM
Their claim doesn't break the laws of the physics, Titanate Barryum really have a giant dielectric constant (3 order of magnitude above best currently used dielectric), the limitation to their invention is the saturation of this dielectric constant under electric field, but we don't know where this limit is since it depends on many parameter like the grade and purity of their material. The problem is more the practical limitation in producing in volume at low cost a very high purity material and also to implement a system that requires 3000 volts in a safe and compact form. There is plenty of materials the properties of which seems to defy the laws of physic and still are real but have no practical use because their are too expensive or requires such grade of purity that they can't be produce in volume. Take diamond for example, its thermal conductivity is up to 7 times better than copper but still we don't make heat exchanger in diamond since this material is too costly to make in volume even if it is made of an extremely abundant and cheap element.
Posted by: Treehugger | 29 March 2008 at 12:11 PM
Many here are very ready to criticize the regular automakers who are ivesting Billions of dollars in electrified vehicles.
Strangely, the biggest vsporware peddlars and hucksters, are always accorded an unsuspicious acclaim.
It is about two or three generations of press releases past time for this particular group of hucksters to pack up and slink away. Put up; or shut up.
Speaking of hucksters, I grow weary of the never ending "right-around-the-corner" expectations for Phoenix and Tesla as well...
Posted by: stas peterson | 29 March 2008 at 12:12 PM
Altairnano nLTO NANOSAFE rules righ NOW.
Watch for Phoenix MC, Fiat Doblo, Lightning GT, ISE heavy duty Buses, Alcoa Medium duty trucks in 08.
Check out the MEGAstorage systems for AES delivered and connected to Grid. AES Solar is next. Agassi/Israel/Dennmark in line sooooon.imo
Posted by: ev2g | 29 March 2008 at 01:16 PM
Not that they are exactly similar but Zenn and ZAP, both sell products imported from the world's low cost manufacturer. EEStor aside, the Zenn is a two door golf cart designed for applications not exceeding 25 MPH. Battery life is the same as most Pb acid vehicles. So, consider this press release then read Wired Magazine's expose of ZAP and... go short.
Posted by: gr | 29 March 2008 at 05:40 PM
stan, you are wrong. tesla is already delivering vehicles; phoenix has passed all gvmt crash tests and is accepting orders as we speak.
Posted by: lensovet | 29 March 2008 at 06:06 PM
um, gr ... Zenn in made in Canada (hardly a low cost manufacturing country) ... now I'll go read your article.
Posted by: Neil | 29 March 2008 at 07:03 PM
Neil, Zenn is "made" in Canada most assuredly from low cost manufactured parts as most EVs are today. They have sold 200 units all to the US since Canada (except BC?) has refused repeatedly to issue them a safety certificate. However, I respect their efforts and temerity to invest in EEStor which might be a game changer.
Posted by: gr | 29 March 2008 at 07:39 PM
gr: read your article on ZAP ... Interesting, but not really surprising ... If (as some say) EEStor is a scam, then you have to wonder if Zenn is a partner or a victim. I'll have to agree with you on the quality of Chinese EV parts, I've been systematically replacing (in some cases trying to replace) parts of my EV motorcycle with higher quality parts for over a year now. (a Vectrix would have been nice, but they aren't even available here yet).
As for EEStor, I think of it as a lottery ticket. Great if it works out, but I'm not counting on it.
Posted by: Neil | 29 March 2008 at 07:59 PM
It would seem to me that EESTor were pretty desperate to sell all those rights to ZENN. If they had had a working prototype they should have been able to attract investment funds easily without giving away so much. Therefore I guess they probably don't have a working prototype.
Posted by: marcus | 29 March 2008 at 10:00 PM
You are right, if EESTOR really have a breakthrough technology why do they partner with such a small company like ZENN, the EV, HEV, PHEV is such an hot area nowadays that they should have convince bigger players to fund them.
Posted by: Treehugger | 29 March 2008 at 11:28 PM
Zenn and EEstor need some kind of demonstration. A current Zenn with an Eestor preproduction ultracap driving a long distance would help to dispell doubts.
Posted by: Jim | 30 March 2008 at 12:28 AM
Posted by: Aware | 30 March 2008 at 11:14 AM