Monday, August 4, 2008

San Francisco Chronicle on Zenn Motors

The San Francisco Chronicle has an article on the Zenn low speed electric cars. Mentioned therein is Green Motors who has sold 36 cars since December.  The article states that this vehicle operates at a cost of 3cents/mile vs gasoline powered cars at 10cents/mile. 

Astonishingly absent from the article is any mention of EEStor.....orthis blog. :-) Guess someone needs to light up the comments section? 


dmon said...



dmon said...

Actually I see it as refreshing that there is some perspective out there that values Zenn *apart* from EEStor. I look at it as a safety hedge - without EEStor, Zenn is still a solid EV company, charting success in a legitimate niche-but-growing market for NEVs/LSVs. The cityZenn is icing on the cake (of course, an EEStor-iced Zenn cake is almost all icing).

wimbet said...

The more I follow EEStor and ultra capacitors I am reminded of the municipal wi-fi hype from a few years ago. There are so many similarities in the great promises from the companies pushing their product and the debates about the limitations of the technology. I hope this story has a happy ending.

Zawy said...

The Northrop Gruman patent actually measured energy density in example 1, so i guess it's possible. They didn't use CMBT (they used CCTO), but they're similar enough.

"The dielectric properties of these capacitors were constant up to a field strength of 250 V/um."

This constitutes experimental evidence that y_po and I are wrong.

Manthan said...

this article is totally fallacious, the only only cars that get 10 cents per mile is the hybrids and the smart cars.

40mpg/cost of gas(4.00) = 10 cents
20mpg/cos of gas(4.00) =20 cents

usual cars get 20 cents per mile, and i would think that with eestor the miles per charge would be like less then 2 cents.

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

manthan - beat me to the punch!
Great minds think alike! :)

article: "whereas gasoline costs alone, according to AAA, are close to 10 cents a mile for an average car".

The average combined MPG for all US cars and light trucks on the road today is 19.8 MPG. (Source: 2005 Highway Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Division).

$4.00/gal ÷ 19.8 MPG = 20¢ / mile

OLD AAA data?

Marcus said...

nice find zawy.

ricinro said...

Much of the hype is not actually coming from eestor as they are mostly quiet but people following the patents and milestones as well as some promotion from Zenn is enough to fan the flames.
There have been many comments about the personalities, the science, and the motivations of the players. I feel that the lack of information makes us hallucenate (speculate?) more than we should.
As many have mentioned, we should just wait for formal announcements before selling ourselves on the idea that it is real or not. Sometimes it seems like religion.
Of course, this blog can be interesting if we believe the EESU to be imminent. If we don't, well, there is not much point to being here.
I personally wonder about the post-permitivity possibilities. As a mechanical designer, having a device as such in the toolbox makes the mind spin!

Unknown said...

...That "wheel-motor" or "in-wheel motor" or "hubmotor" design concept?

Experts say that one drawback is the added weight of wheels with motors inside them. But wouldn't a 25-mph top speed little car handle and ride "less worse" with heavier wheels, so to speak, than a 100 mph-capable car which is often subjecting itself to stronger bumps?...and its motors could be much lighter in weight?

Maybe ZENN could see whether its "glider" (car w/o batteries or motor) supplier, Microcar, is interested in developing wheel-motors - or - and I'm halfway serious about this - a custom wheel rims manufacturer might be persuaded to hook up with an electric motor company in order to design a wheel-motor from the ground up: Since weight reduction is so important the actual rim of the wheel could also serve as the outer housing of the electric motor.

If you google "wheel motors" +manufacturer you find quite a few Chinese manufacturers, also PML Flightlink (UK), associated with a Volvo concept car.

btw otoh The very expensive Lightning (UK) electric sports car co. says the additional weight of the wheel-motors isn't problematical since the weight of friction brakes can pretty much be subtracted from the unsprung weight equation.

Yes, granted, the whole wheel-motor project would be costly, and a new, possibly distracting direction for ZENN, but isn't ZENN sitting on a gold mine? nervous laughter heh heh heh

richterm said...

zawy -

"The dielectric properties of these capacitors were constant up to a field strength of 250 V/um."

Thanks - very interesting.

I'm not very good with the terminology used, but am trying to make sense of the technical discussion.

Sorry to ask you to rehash but in a nutshell, what was the limit of field strength that you an y_po had calculated - just to get a feel for how much you may have been off compared to NG's experimental results?

Lensman said...

Manthan said...

i would think that with eestor the miles per charge would be like less then 2 cents.

Tesla Motors claims 2¢ per mile for their all-electric Roadster, but that's using the most favorable numbers. 3¢ per mile would be a more reasonable average even for a small car like that. For a 4-door sedan, 4¢ per mile might be a reasonable average.

But that still beats the heck out of $4/ gallon gasoline!

Etienne said...

this comment is off topic, but i found this article on

GM May Share the Volt Powertrain With Ford:

Of course, they will both be using ZENNergy Drive ;-)

Marcus said...

richterm, from the continued dialog on the Mea Culpa thread I'm not sure whether I can conclude anything yet. Its so frustrating not being up to speed in this field..

Jeff said...

Are GM and Ford working together using Eestor tech?
I found this quote from Bob Lutz in April...

"What if we could do a Volt that's cheaper, without engine and all the plumbing, and have a pure electric with more range?"

Zawy said...

y_po didn't give an upper limit for field strength (before dielectric saturation). I don't think his method can give that.

My method says the titanium +4 atom is the primary source of energy stored (an approximation) and that it cannot move outside of its lattice structure (obvious if it's a crystal), which is no more than 2 ang. The formula in Feynman's book gives that to be 10 V/um, 35 times lower than EEStor claims. My upper limit of 10 V/um corresponds closely to 10 J/cc which is reported by most sources as being the highest measured, except for EEStor and Northrop Gruman.

nekote said...

ZNN (TSX) nor ZNNMF (OTC) trading, today?

First Monday of August
Canadian Holiday, but not all provinces
no single official name
Civic Day / Civic Public Holiday

richterm said...

Thanks zawy

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

So what you are saying zawy is that even though you can potentially measure a particular field strength and k (which you pointed out in the NGC patent) it doesn't tell you the energy stored? And that in the NGC patent they only measured very low values of energy stored (according to Y_Po) meaning that overall Y_Po's claims are still valid based on this patent's measurements?

ricinro said...

Saw this awhile back. Don't think they are pursuing it. I think they sold the division.

ricinro said...

here it is again. I think it got truncated.

The motor-in-wheel concept, if they can get the mass reduced, will push EVs beyond ICE cars in terms of versatility. Currently so much of a car is built around a drive train. A car could be a boat, submarine etc. and suspensions could be interchangeable for off-road, street use. Perhaps we will only by a cab, and a EESU and lease/rent the suspensions and the accessories. Could be a robotic drive thru where components are interchanged. While you are at it, get an extra EESU for the weekend and "drive" to catalina.

Satya51 said...

gizmo, wierd_science,
Good point, Volt drive would easily lend itself to dropping in an Eestor ESU, and Ford plus GM quick transition would put Toyota hybrid in catch-up transition (Toyota would have to ditch their drive and start over to go EV).

Ramp up of Eestor is just fabrication of addition duplicate production lines. I doubt chemicals would be a supply issue. Expensive lab equipment has long lead times, but no development work.

If Eestor completes their commercial production line in 2008 as targeted, perhaps we will see Eestor ESU's in GM-eVolt in 2010. Providing of course that the ESU science can be figured out in time.

Who knows, perhaps an infrastructure consensus will also emerge by utilities for rapid charging along interstate roads (cities would not likely need it as soon).

Just my shot at musing.

ricinro said...

I have a hydrid camry.
Could an EESU be dropped in and update the software to allow the electric motor run more often and while cruising?
I can understand that there would need to be voltage amplification and a mounting adapter/bracket as well as my trunk getting smaller.
It would still be a hybrid but mostly electric.

Satya51 said...

A123 bought Hymotion so that they could do just what you are asking for the Prius, but their price is steep. Presumably Eestor's price would be a lot less. The Prius though requires the ICE at highway speeds due to power (but not at low speeds). Because the hybrid Camry uses the same drive, the same logic should apply (IMO).

ricinro said...

My ICE starts when I step on the pedal. I can barely depress the pedal and get the car to about 20mph but my hybrid is mostly for scavaging brake energy and as a supplement. My ICE is ~150hp and the electric motor adds about 40hp. When cruising down the freeway the car only needs a few HP to overcome wind drag and rolling resistance (thanks y_po and others) so this would be a great opportunity for the electric motor to give the
ICE a rest. Currently my battery is too limited for this.
Ideally I could sell my existing battery and get an EESU or a smaller EESU at a good price. 95% of my drive is less than 100 miles a day and I could keep the ICE idle the majority of the time.

Satya51 said...

That is what I get for guessing that the Prius drive would extrapolate to the Camry hybrid, and perhaps why Hymotion is not offering a package for Camry, yet. Best to talk to a car nut or maybe even Hymotion.

Manthan said...

to the people who said tesla is 2 cents optimal, well if eestor's capictor works then wouldnt it be more effecient at almost everything compared to li-ion?

cause its self discharge is way less, and if it can charge up faster doesnt that mean it wastes less electricity?

Thorny said...

"B" I want to thank you for taking the time to keep this blog going, and applaud your efforts to keep the level of discourse from degenerating. I have found this a most valuable resource for info about EEStor/Zenn.
Can someone provide a link for getting real-time quotes for ZNNMF?
All I can find are closing numbers from the previous trading day.

Unknown said...

I've heard both sides on this blog as to whether the chemicals used to make an EEStor are available in very large quantities.

Given that current-technology solar panel costs are rising due to a shortfall in polysilicon, this seems to be a real concern to me.

Anyone have an idea if materials could be a constraint?

nekote said...

The EEStor WIPO patent document, as opposed to the USPTO one (AFAIR), has at least 7 or so tables of values.

For example, 8 categories (.2 to 1 µm) listing the percent volume of pulverized PET particles. 58.22% at .6 µm. Average .64 µm.

Similarly for pulverized aluminum (.05 to 3.9 µm). 59.5% at 2.3 µm . Avg 2.4 µm.

And the permittivity value of 10 *batches* of CMBT powder. Avg K of 19,861

And "the relativity [SIC] permittivity of ten components measured at 85°C, then 85°C and 3500 V, and the last test 85°C and 5000 V." That table has 10 rows with 3 columns of K values listed, all at or above 19,801. "Results indicates [SIC] ... {CBMT} ... the relative permittivity is highly insensitive to both voltage and temperature."

There are a few more such tabular examples.

Those submitted tables of values aren't from theoretical calculations, estimates, projections, ... IMHO

Especially when tossing in variations like temperature and voltage.

For my money, if those tables aren't utterly falsified or somehow in error, those are "lab" results.
Measured *prior* to that document's 8/10/2004 submission to the WIPO.

EESU "components" worked, in the lab, prior to 8/2004, IMHO. 4 years ago.

The real questions, to me (and within EEStor?), have always been about the difficulties transitioning from the lab to mass production - usually *not* a trivial thing!

Changing 150,000 *tons* of raw materials into 1,000,000 working 300 pound 52.2 KWH EESUs, for example.

nekote said...

A123 L5 Hymotion

$10,400 + change, installed.

Supposedly 5 KWH.
But, maximum DOD (Depth Of Discharge) to 2 KWH?
L5 performance chart

Thus, in reality, only 3 KWH available?

nekote said...


I too discovered no trading today and commented above.

A Canadian holiday called Civic day, or some such.

Satya51 said...

Thanks, I couldn't find any squirm room either. I also don't buy the idea that if some of us can't work out the physics to agree with the data, the data must be wrong (then the aspersions fly). Still, some seem to take that point of view, and I don't think that will change.

Satya51 said...

Furthermore, I would suggest that if the physics could be worked out, there would be a paper published, and that we would have to pay for it to read it!

Robert said...

There is a way of getting scientific papers that costs little or no money. Simply go to the University library and look up the appropriate journal, if the paper is published in a mainline peer reviewed journal then it is likely the University has it. A non-mainstream journal might still be available via interlibrary loan.


ultra said...

Just discovered this blog.
I wrote to Dr. Weir asking if any prototype had been demonstrated. No answer (due to my manner of asking?) Does anyone here know if EEStor claims to have given any private demonstrations of the key concepts of this technology? All insights appreciated.

Matt said...

There have been no demonstrations, but Weir has reported test results in the WIPO patent and elsewhere.

Demonstrations are for magicians.

ultra said...

Matt says:

Demonstrations are for magicians.

OK magician. I know that there have been no public demonstrations of a real product. My real question was about prototypes. Does Dr. Weir report results of preliminary products, or only tests of purity, factory capacity, moon phase....Just trying to come to a sound judgment of my own.

Matt said...

He reports the results of tests on small prototype capacitors that are components of the EESU product. The EESU is just 30000 of these capacitors wired in parallel, and the tests show that each of these stores 1/30000th of the energy that the EESU is promised to store.

It is no great feat to wire a bunch of capacitors in parallel, and there is no spooky magic in it, so the tests are sufficient to show that the EESU will perform as advertised if the components produced by the production line match the performance of the prototypes.

Of course, the reason that there were no "prototype EESUs" is obvious -- they would have had to make 30000 "prototype components". Whether or not they've actually tested (or demonstrated :-) a complete EESU off their production line to make sure it can store 52KWh is anyone's guess.

Lensman said...

Manthan said...

to the people who said tesla is 2 cents optimal, well if eestor's capictor works then wouldnt it be more effecient at almost everything compared to li-ion?

Tesla Motors claims a charging efficiency of 86%. Perhaps the EEstor will be slightly more efficient, I don't know. But more importantly, it would be considerably cheaper, lighter and smaller. Batteries are very heavy, so switching to a lighter EEstor unit would automatically improve the car's mileage, even if everything else was the same.

- - - - - - - -

ultra said...

Does anyone here know if EEStor claims to have given any private demonstrations of the key concepts of this technology?

This has been a topic of hot debate here. We just don't know. Maybe no one outside EEstor has seen a prototype demonstrated, maybe they have, maybe-- as Matt says-- they have demonstrated a prototype of a tiny piece of the EEstor but not the finished product.

And despite what Matt said, there has been no clear statement regarding the progress, or lack thereof, on producing an operational prototype. The only thing I think we can *definitely* say is this: If anyone *has* seen a demonstration of a working prototype, they've had to sign a NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) and can't talk about it.

OntarioInvestor said...


OntarioInvestor said...

This just came out in the MIT review. In the article, Weir states that there will be press releases on a more rapid pace, which bodes very well that his tech is real. Also that he is talking with solar companies as well. I guess everyone is now officially pushed to the wall on this one. You either believe what Wier is saying, or you think he is conning everyone. With the type of statements made here, i don't think there is any middle ground. I personally really like the tone of what was said!

OntarioInvestor said...

B. Here is Jeff Dahn's email address Jeff.Dahn@Dal.Ca from dahousie (univ in canada, he is quoted in the article). Maybe you could contact him to see if you would be interested in contributing to the blog.

Erik said...

I fear that Peak oil is for real…
Used a graph suggesting a peak at 2010 and did a rough calculation on the demand for electric cars in the world for closing the demand and supply gap for oil. This gave a need of 45 million electric cars per year, from 2010 to 2020. Assuming this speculation would be correct. Do you think EEstor will be able to deliver 45 million EESU per year to make this transition from oil smooth? I know, this question does not have a good answer. But, is it unrealistic that they would be able to deliver that high volume from the start?

Lensman said...

OntarioInvestor, thank you muchly for this link!

Glad to see some things clarified. A recent article suggested EEstor was again delaying their date for start of production, but I wasn't sure if that was official or just a rumor. This makes it clear that the info comes from Weir himself.

So, to those who want to know how long this debate will continue: At least until the beginning of next year! And if the EESU turns out to be real, I'm sure we'll still find things to debate... like the safety, durability and expected lifespan.

Jonathon Martin said...

"So, to those who want to know how long this debate will continue: At least until the beginning of next year!"

I think 3rd party confirmation of the stated permittivity will be enough to end most of the debate. Certainly it will send Zen's stock up a lot.

Lensman said...

Moomipappa said...

I think 3rd party confirmation of the stated permittivity will be enough to end most of the debate.

I very, very much doubt it. The debate will just shift to what the meaning of the permittivity verification means. We've already seen the first of that: Someone asking "Are they just going to test the permittivity of the powder?"

Does "permittivity verification" refer to the coating, or one of the individual capacitor plates, or the finished unit? Will EEstor release enough information to make this clear? If it's as confusing as their last PR, then that will only heat up the debate.

But there may well be a point at which many frequent post-ers here will be satisfied and wander away. And their places will be taken by new people just finding out about it, or people who are more interested in talking about what the impact of EEstor will be, instead of whether or not it's real.

If "b" is willing to maintain this space, I'm sure people will be posting here long after the first EESU ships.

I hope someone sets up a *real* forum for discussion of EEstor issues, and does it soon. This responding-to-blog-posts format is rather awkward.

johng said...

And again, my bet is they announce reaching the Permittivity Target, but not saying anything about the effect of high fields.

ultra said...

Matt said...

"He reports the results of tests on small prototype capacitors that are components of the EESU product."

Great thanks. That's what I was looking for. Can you (or anyone) give me a link to such a report? Before anyone tells me so, I do understand that the existence of such a report is not proof of the actual test, and that the reported results could conceivably vary from the real results. Still, even a claim by EEStor that a unit capacitor has (or has not) survived 3500 volts (or some other number) across it's width, is more than I've been able to uncover.

Matt said...

Those results are in the WIPO patent application here:

go there and search for "permittivity of ten components" to find the appropriate paragraph.

voxelman said...

I currently own a Zap Xebra PK that I purchased June 7th, 2008 that I now drive to work every day. The Xebra PK is a is a pure electric vehicle that has a GRVW of about 2300 lbs and carries two passengers or a total of 300 lbs. The electrical energy use numbers for the first 11 days in July carrying one passenger are as follows:

Date KWH Miles KWH/Mile Miles/KWH.
7/1/2008 2.22 5.5 0.404 2.477
7/2/2008 5.11 14.3 0.357 2.798
7/3/2008 2.20 4.8 0.458 2.182
7/4/2008 1.15 2.6 0.442 2.261
7/5/2008 5.67 18.0 0.315 3.175
7/6/2008 3.29 9.8 0.336 2.979
7/7/2008 3.52 11.1 0.317 3.153
7/8/2008 2.05 3.2 0.641 1.561
7/9/2008 2.17 4.3 0.505 1.982
7/10/2008 2.53 5.2 0.487 2.055
7/11/2008 3.15 6.1 0.516 1.937

This is the use of a total of 33.06 KWH driving 84.9 miles within the first 200 miles of use for an average of .389 KWH/mile. This is about what is expected for early stage performance. At roughly .10/KWH in my part of Iowa this works out to 3.89 cents/mile. My vehicle is new and after battery break-in I expect it to do better. Others are reporting closer to .3 KWH/Mile for 3.3 cents/mile.

However, this is only part of the story. These figures are from warm weather and do not include battery cost amortization. The Xebra PK uses a pack of 6 Group 31 AGM Lead Acid batteries that together cost between $1,000 and $2,000, depending upon quality. The life of a pack is dependent upon how the pack is used and cared for by the owner of the vehicle. Inexperienced owners can very easily exhaust a pack in 3,000 miles. Experienced owners may get between 10,000 and 20,000 miles. There are many variables that determine a pack's life not all of them under the owner's control such manufacturing quality, weather conditions and the terrain where the vehicle is used. The real cost per mile for these vehicles can very easily reach a 2-4 times multiple of a fuel sipping ICE (think Honda Civic) with a conservative driver at today's gas prices.

voxelman said...

Lensman said...

Tesla Motors claims a charging efficiency of 86%. Perhaps the EEstor will be slightly more efficient, I don't know.

I think that EESUs will charge and discharge at greater than 95% efficiency and possibly much higher. The principle loses are in electrical resistance. This is minimal compared too the chemical conversion processes required by conventional batteries.