Monday, June 23, 2008

From Pacemaker to Powerplant: Part 1 Interview of Ian Clifford

What do you get when you combine gadget lust with an energy crisis?  For Ian Clifford, CEO of Zenn Motor Company, the answer is quite simple: an opportunity to save the planet.  
Not save
 Toronto or Texas or any other part of the world but the whole shebang; everything and everybody.  You'll forgive Mr. Clifford if he occasionally uses that two word phrase--the planet---a bit too often.  It's just that, when you are about to enter phase 1 of a revolution that could end the use of fossil fuel powered cars, that phrase keeps popping up unexpectedly.  Then again, that's the sort of phrase we heard often back in the early Internet boom, of which, Mr. Clifford was  a successful participant, having sold an Internet marketing company at precisely the right time to stay optimistic about almost anything he touches for the rest of his life.  It's going to take nothing less than heroic optimism to pull off what Mr. Clifford is aiming to pull off.  What is he trying to pull off?

For starters, he wants to save each of the 13000 taxi cab drivers in New York City around $17,000 per year in fuel costs which amounts to over $1Bil over 5yrs which does not include the savings associated with no longer needing to change oil, filters or tune up internal combusion engines or even the lion share of savings gained via vehicle life expansion.  He wants to do this with a zero emission alternative based on technology gained from EEstor, the mysterious producers of a technology which may or may not receive 3rd party validation any day now.   For those who have followed news on Zenn Motor Company, you may be scratching your head now as you thought Zenn was focused on producing a tiny but fully electric  car. But how could Zenn get this car to every taxi cab driver in NYC?  Clifford and Zenn Motors is working on a set of ultracap conversion kits which will be available to retrofit the typical NYC cab platform of choice: the Crown Victoria and/or similar large vehicles.  The kit would eliminate the internal combusion engine and replace it with a ZENNergy drive system, a fully electric system based on ultracapacitor technology. 

With a little success under his belt, Clifford could spend a bit of effort on 100 or so other similarly sized fleets out there before moving on to something of more interest to the average consumer.  While Zenn's cityZenn car is targeted to possibly begin chipping away at the 40mil new  car market beginning in late 2009, you may find a bigger dent sooner among the 900 mil existing vehicles around "the planet" today.  Let's elaborate on this a bit.

Perhaps lately your decision to buy the largest SUV available with the worst gas mileage is seeming less funny to you. Picture this. One day you drive to a Jiffy lube or even your local dealer and instead of an oil change, you ask for engine removal. A few hours later, you pull away from the shop and notice your SUV is now quicker out of the gate than your wife's SAAB while reducing your vehicle power costs by what we'll call a motivating amount of money.  What happens next?  If all goes well, over 1Mil others follow your lead each year for the next few years producing what Ian Clifford would have investors believe is a motivating amount of money. 

What else would Ian Clifford have us believe? In the next installment, Clifford will test our faith with thoughts on who will be the new gas station, other applications of ultracap technology as well as where entrepreneurs should focus their attention for the most gain. 


Kempenzoon said...

"He wants to do this with a zero emission alternative based on technology gained from EEstor, the mysterious producers of a technology which may or may not receive 3rd party validation any day now"
And there's the snag again, didn't they say "any day now" already a month ago? What's the status on these permitivity tests? Somehow warning bells are ringing in my head now, I think the test has been done and they don't like the results, hence, they're not releasing them...

nekote said...

How can I email you about publicly available details of the EEStor unit?

I did my best to pretty it up, but it is still too ugly to post, as is.

Unknown said...

What effect on EEstor will presidential candidate John McCain's $300M "Prize" for a better "battery" expect to have?

richterm said...

By the way, I hope Ian Clifford isn't really interested in retrofitting NYC cabs. All NYC cab owners (medallion holders) are required to BUY a new car every 2 years. Retrofitting would not make any financial sense - cab owners would simply phase out their old cabs and look to buy new EVs if available. And by the way hardly any NYC cabs these days are Crown Victorias. There are lots of Toyotas. I really hope this is more blogger slop and not Ian Clifford's real thoughts.

whatsyourevidence said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
whatsyourevidence said...

How can I jump on this bandwagon, you might ask.

You can't invest in EEstor yet because they're private. But you CAN invest in Zenn Motor Company (symbol: ZNNMF). I used TradeKing, an online broker. Zenn isn't traded a lot, so I had to call in -- but they didn't charge me extra for talking to the broker. Maybe EEstor is all smoke and mirrors - but if it's NOT - if EEstor is REAL, then it is going to be the holy grail -- no exaggeration.

Zenn has the license to use EEstor ultracaps in consumer vehicles up to size of mid-size sedans. They plan on manufacturing a powertrain and licensing it out to many auto makers using the "Intel Inside" business model. Zenn also owns a portion of EEstor. Zenn's stock is going to dwarf Google's stock explosion IF EEStor succeeds in making a commercially viable ultracapacitor.

Look, I'm not pumping Zenn's stock. I invested $2000 at $4.13 per share (it's up about 20% since then). By all means: Buyer Beware. My thinking is, if EEstor works, I can't afford NOT to have chucked in the spare $1000 or $2000 I had rotting in checking account surplus or a forgotten savings account. If I lose it, fine. It was a risk worth taking. If Zenn's stock soars to (wild guess) $1000+ per share, I'm rolling in money. EEstor, if it works, will change the world. It's worth a couple grand to me -- that I can afford to lose -- to take a chance on that. If you can't afford to lose it, don't invest. The purpose of this post is to make you aware of the possibility.