If the Texas company EEStor is running a scam, it’s a frakking brilliant one. For years the otherwise tight-lipped outfit has been promising a capacitor that can quickly charge, quickly discharge, and hold enormous amounts of energy — on all accounts, performance far beyond any battery on the market, or even contemplated. If it performs as promised, the EESU (Electrical Energy Storage Unit) will revolutionize the electric vehicle market. It will enable cost-effective, high-capacity storage for renewable electricity sources. It can radically increase the utility of portable electronics. It would be an honest-to-god game changer.
It sounds too good to be true, and quite a few people think it is. But the company has passed some initial tests; it has signed an exclusive contract with Lockheed Martin; electric car company ZENN is ready to put EESUs in vehicles and begin selling them in short order.
And now, there’s a leaked interview with EEStor CEO Dick Weir (who never talks to the media, and who doesn’t appear aware the interview will be published; journalist Tyler Hamilton, one of the few to have interviewed him, vouchsafes that it’s his voice) in which he claims that he’ll have a pre-production prototype EESU done by the end of the year.
If this is a bluff, it is one of the ballsier, more elaborate bluffs the cleantech world has ever seen.
Here are a few of the remarkable things Weir says, as related by Hamilton:
* On EEStor’s value: “If we make an EESU … God only knows what we’ll be valued then.”
* He has two patents on grid-load levelling. “You can put 45 percent more electricity on the grid and do nothing more than put our batteries on there. … that electricity could supply the electricity to the electric vehicle market as it emerges … we make wind and solar real … you can make a wind farm operate like a coal-fired plant and it’s really cost-effective.”
* On storage for PCs and handhelds. “We can take a battery for a cell phone and give you three to five times more energy storage that would never degrade on you and you can charge in seconds.”
* How quick to market for EESU electric car? “Need is always a wonderful thing, and the need is very high for our technology … there’s nothing corrosive, harmful or explosive in our technology … there’s nothing, there’s no chemistry part of our product. It’s all solid state … I think also ZENN is going to happen very, very quickly … people will want that electric car. They’ll be able to test it, don’t get me wrong, but they’ll be able to pass those tests quickly because we’ve got the UL.”
* On EESU status: “I’m already out there putting EESUs together and I’m still in June. I’m ahead of schedule.” Says ZENN will get pre-production prototypes by the end of this year. “Once I do that, all hell is going to break loose for ZENN as well as EEStor.”
* Ending note: “We’ve done our homework, and you’ll see the results when we get into 2010 … you’ll see a very effective and constant ramp-up to our production capabilities.”
I wouldn’t invest in this company, but I can probably spare a little hope.
More on EEStor:
- Hamilton’s definitive piece in Technology Review
- Startup says new technology will make gasoline obsolete
- Ultracapacitor company claims it will revolutionize electric cars
- A chat with ZENN about NEVs and EEstor
- Hybrids and biofuels: The road ahead
- Lockheed Martin signs exclusive contract with EEStor for energy storage units
- EEStor founder says things are on track for commercial production in 2009
- A recent interview with ZENN CEO Ian Clifford, in which he confirms EEStor’s claims