Tuesday, June 24, 2008

EEStor's Richard Weir on John McCain's $300Mil Prize

(Phone Ringing)
RW: Dick Weir.

Blogger: Hey Dick, this is John McCain calling. How you doing? 

RW: How you doing John?  What can I do for you?

Blogger: I was wondering, should I make that check out to you or should I make it out to EEStor?....
RW: Better make it out to EEStor or they'll come and get me...

Blogger: Maybe Ian Clifford should get it?
RW: Ahhh, no, he doesnt need it. He's rich. 

Blogger: And also, what's my cut, Dick?
RW: A good healthy feeling about the United States.  

That's how my conversation this morning started with Richard Weir, CEO of EEStor. ( Note: recorded here verbatim, which hopefully will satisfy some critics who think my interviews dont include enough direct quotes. ) When we spoke, he was aware of McCain's call for a $300Mil prize for any company that can create a next generation car battery.  

Blogger: All kidding aside, what do you think of this John McCain announcement?

RW: He just gave us $300Mil dollars. If he pulls it off, we get the $30oMil. Whose going to compete with us?

Blogger: I dont know. Who is your closest competitor?

RW: A123 spent $32Mil in 5-6 yrs. The price went through the ceiling. They say they get better charging time. Be careful because that's 80%. Ours is 100% charge/discharge and very very rapid. So I mean, who is going to compete with us?

Blogger: I cant think of anyone. 

RW: So we get the $300Mil. 

I asked him whether maybe Zenn Motor should get the prize and Weir explained to me that they dont build anything. :-)  I asked Weir about his politics and he was careful to be neutral but he did reveal his leanings. He did think McCain's idea was very smart.  And then he went on to share some of his thoughts on the political landscape in the context of an energy crisis.  

I asked him for an update on the permitivity tests and pointed out that when we spoke a month ago, he said news was forthcoming.  He said, "We've made significant progress since the last time we talked. Very very happy about the way things are going in our company." 

I pressed him on his recommendation last time to research what Lockheed had released on his technology and pointed out that they appear more tight lipped than he does. He laughed and then said, "It's going to happen. We're certainly happy with our progress. And EEStor is well positioned for a fast finish this year. "

In a future post, I'll share some more details on the conversation including how to do business with EEStor today...for those who think they have an application. 

In the meantime, moving forward, I'm more than a little concerned about the level and quality of comments being posted on my blog.  What we all have in common is an interest in whether or not EEStor can deliver this amazing technology. We can disagree and even be cranky about each other's assessments of this. But I'd like to ask that everyone show a little more civility and class.  My blog is like my home. If I invite you in, act like a guest.  I'm going to hold off moving to a moderated comment format for now. My guess is there are always going to be a few people who go beyond polite skepticism and issue vulgarities to ruin the atmosphere. If it keeps up, I'll have to moderate the comments.  


richterm said...

I assume you were referring to my comments (which you included NO vulgarities by the way - you censored them because you didn't like them). A blog is not a home - it's a public place for exchange of information and ideas. If you want credibility, then you'll be open to criticism. No one really knows if you're really speaking to Richard Weir and Ian Clifford, or if you're really a Zenn stockholder pumping your investment. The only way you can combat this is to be very detailed about your conversations with these individuals and if possible even give information about how you gained access. I give you some credit for posting some Q/As, but it was a bit of a sarcastic response to "critics". Even so, I bet others here will agree that this kind of reporting is much more enlightening than some of the previous posts. Most people looking for info don't need to be convinced about the impact this tech would have. We're searching for answers. If you're legit, I am thankful for your efforts. In that case I apologise for my tone, but my critique stands - please view it constructively. I reserve the right to be skeptical since I know nothing about you.

marcus said...

His response to the permitivity question is pretty pathetic. One more reason to be skeptical of this company.

mrjerry said...

Hummm Marcus has a point, there a smell in the air here, last month ready to communicate permitivity results but consistent with tyler hamilton. a month later now dick says we made great progress, I been following since mar 2006, I've read everything on the net, 1st time I felt dick weirs is doing some spinning here, I always was impressed with Dick no comments. I have some questions if the blogger is legitimate, the sarcasm the blogger speaks of is not consistent with any thing else written, dick is so secretive, let the results speak for itself, just seems so out of character of him as we know him. I won't discount the blogger, just that there a inconsistency with the image...

Tom Villars said...

If you ever get a chance to talk to Mr. Weir again, ask him if thinks Moore's law will apply to the EEStor's product.

mrjerry said...

Assuming the blogger quoted Dick Weirs on the permitivity testing correctly, what does this mean, a year ago they should have released the permitivity results, we were lead to believe the results were being held back to ramp up for production facility back in mar 2008 to meet high demand and when they release the information we would get the complete picture. Now I think we really are back to june of 2007 when we expected any day the release of the permitivity results. They did have problems and at one point it was doubtful, even Morton Topfer Board of Directors left before nov 2007, then came back after Lockheed Martin signed on jan 2008. So I think around nov-dec of 2007 they resolved the major issue. I think we are close here but it could be a month or 6 months before we know.

Doug said...

Why doesn't "The Blogger" have a name? Like richterm, I wrote a critical comment last week, calling the writing self-indulgent and devoid of content. That comment was removed. I don't think anyone should take a blog seriously when the blogger remains anonymous--there is no reputation to protect, and he can't be held accountable. Besides, nothing has ever been written here about Eestor that hasn't been written somewhere else first.

mrjerry said...

doug, the blogger gave me one piece I wanted to know, and that dick weir has said many times, we will publish when the time is right, let the proof speak for itself, the blogger and it so dick weirs' did that in part 2.. thats says a lot to me, timeframe might be longer than we think, but i believe it works and in the end, that is all that matters..

"Go back and read what Lockheed Martin said about this. I think that's very exciting. They said two things. They said it works. And they didn't say it works with this or that caveat.... they just said it works."

Are you confident that their technology will offer a greater amount of energy and power density than batteries?
Yes, and at a fraction of the cost.

Do their caps hold 10x the energy at 1/10th the weight of a lead acid battery?

"And second, they said it could ramp up into a high volume production environment"

Is there a production plan for 2008?
Yes for EEStor. Their approach is when they start manufacturing these batteries, not just the cells, but also the package assembly, they will be in production. If you can get a visit to EEStor they’ll show you their process and everything they’ve got in place to support that. Assuming that everything comes together in terms of tests and qualifications and that sort of thing, they will be ready to ramp up very quickly, because of the nature if the architecture and scalability of what they are doing.

b said...

richterm and doug, thanks for your comments. we can all agree that the truth and scientific validity of what eestor is working on is paramount. I appreciate your comments about credibility and accountability. For the record, my blog entries are based on real conversations with Dick Weir. When I spoke to him I did press him on timelines as much as was possible while maintaining a polite conversation. Just my impression but I get the feeling he would like to talk about where everything stands and I didnt sense he in any way he wanted to avoid the questions. I base that conclusion on tone, tenor and pace of his voice (i make a living in sales so i pay attention to these things--not that I'm an expert at it but confident in my read). For whaterver reason, they've made a conscious decision to withold info at this point. What DW did say was that there would be a press release on permitivity and when I spoke to him a month ago he said "soon." This second time I tried to get a definition of "soon" but no luck. When I spoke to Ian Clifford, he also said soon. In the clifford conversation it was as a result of my asking Ian if i could ask follow up questions later and he said something like, yes, with the test results coming out soon, we're expecting alot of follow up. dont have exact words as im on an amtrak from philly to dc today and dont have my notes. again--just my guess--but my impression was we were talking in the next 30 days. obviously, i have no way of knowing. it'd be nice if a reader could post any info on who is doing this testing...wasnt on my list of questions unfortunately...

Tom Villars said...

The company who did the previous testing was Southwest Research Institute, Inc. located in San Antonio, Texas. It is probably a good bet they are doing the next round of testing as well.

Karl M said...

Thanks for the perspective on the $300mil. I didn't really think about that side of it. I just thought the reward of the marketplace would be reward enough for companies to find the better battery.

Any chance in your next conversation you could ask a question about dielectric saturation? That seems to be the prevailing issue amongst the techies on the board as opposed to the permittivity.

As for B not revealing his name, I don't have a problem with it. It would be nice if he did but there are some of us that like to remain web-anonymous.

stephen_b said...

"And EEStor is well positioned for a fast finish this year."

I was impressed by this statement. Very definite, no getting around it.

mrjerry, interesting speculation about what might have happened around Topfer's coming and going. You might be onto something there.