Tuesday, June 10, 2008

ZENN Motors Claims Ultracapacitors Is Holy Grail for Electric Cars


Ultracapacitors: the future of electric cars or the ‘cold fusion’ of autovation?

ZENN Motors says its electric car will cruise for 250 miles on a single five-minute charge. Skeptics cry shenanigans.

Ian Clifford wants to start a global revolution by building a practical, everyday car with no gasoline engine, no batteries, and no emissions.

While big Detroit automakers ponder a future plug-in car that goes 40 miles on a battery charge before its gas engine kicks in, Mr. Clifford’s tiny ZENN Motor, a Toronto maker of low-speed electric cars, announced in March that it will build a new highway-speed (80 m.p.h.) model that goes 250 miles on a charge – and can recharge in just five minutes.

Having no batteries, the new “cityZENN” model will use a breakthrough version of a common electrical storage device called an ultracapacitor to store power from a wall socket, the company says. Fuel costs to operate it would be about one-tenth of today’s gas-powered vehicle.

If that astounding claim is real (and there are many skeptics), it could revolutionize automotive travel by making all-electric cars competitive with gas-powered vehicles and easing the world’s dependence on oil.

The reported breakthrough was made by ZENN’s business partner EEStor, a Cedar Park, Texas, firm headed by respected computer industry veteran Richard Weir, who’s named on the company’s patent. The company is now nearing commercial production of its new “electrical energy storage unit” or EESU, Clifford says.

But privately held EEStor has had little to say publicly or to the press – and that secretiveness has inspired incredulity among many debating the topic on Internet forums.

But in a break with that tradition, Tom Weir, the company’s vice president and general manager, responded to e-mailed questions.

“EEStor’s technology has the opportunity to touch every aspect of daily life from very big to very small devices,” Mr. Weir writes. “We also see a whole new generation of products … based around our technology.”

Added credibility arrived with the January announcement by Lockheed Martin, the big defense company, of an agreement to use EEStor technology for military and homeland security applications. It refers to the EEStor “ceramic battery” providing “10 times the energy density of lead-acid batteries at 1/10th the weight and volume.”

In 2005, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers sunk $3 million into EEStor. ZENN also invested $3 million and will get exclusive rights to retrofit vehicles with the system – and produce new mid-size cars using EESUs.



Read from the Christian Science Monitor

1 comment:

Jay Draiman said...

Our war for energy independence and economic sustainability

The US government and other governments are not serious about energy efficiency and renewable energy development and implementation – they are too busy playing politics and capitulating to the Oil Companies.
IT is time to get series to avert an economic catastrophe – I hope it is not too late
The world needs to invest $50 trillion in energy in coming decades, building some 1,400 nuclear power plants and vastly expanding wind power, solar power, geothermal energy in order to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, according to an energy study released Friday.
The report by the Paris-based International Energy Agency envisions an "energy revolution" that would greatly reduce the world's dependence on fossil fuels while maintaining steady economic growth.
"Meeting this target of 50 percent cut in emissions and replacing fossil fuel represents a formidable challenge, and we would require immediate policy action and technological transition on an unprecedented scale," IEA Executive Director Nobuo Tanaka said.
The scenario for deeper cuts would require massive investment in energy technology development and deployment, a wide-ranging campaign to dramatically increase energy efficiency, and a wholesale shift to renewable sources of energy.
Assuming an average 3.4 percent global economic growth over the 2010-2050 period, governments and the private sector would have to make additional investments of $50 trillion in energy, or 1.2 percent of the world's gross domestic product, the report said.
That would be an investment more than three times the current size of the entire U.S. economy.
In addition, the world would have to construct 38 new nuclear power plants each year, and wind-power turbines would have to be increased by 18,000 units annually, solar energy output would have to be increased 20 fold every year.
Let us not forget as we are increasing the use of renewable energy and energy efficiency – the world population is increasing – the demand for energy by advancement in technology worldwide is also increasing. We have to take these factors into account.
Oil is going to hit at least $200 per barrel, gasoline at the pump will hit $6 or more per gallon, in some countries it is already $10 per gallon.
Most of the money would be in the commercialization of energy technologies developed by governments and the private sector.
"If industry is convinced there will be policy for serious, actions for accelerated development of renewable energy and efficiency, then these investments will be made by the private sector."
People are hurting financially and economically, this must end, we should strive for a thriving economy with new technology for renewable energy and efficiency.
We have the technology and knowhow let us stop playing politics – unite our people and our nation in a common goal to avert an economic disaster and maintain our quality of life for generations to come.
Let us serve as an example to the rest of the world.
Jay Draiman, Energy Analyst – June 12, 2008