December 19, 2014

Electric Vehicles Renewable Energy and Storage News

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While the auto industry is getting used to the idea the next step for the electric drive is with lithium batteries, the question becomes what is next?
The gist is that finding the right medium to store energy in an efficient and financially reasonable way is the biggest challenge the auto industry is facing to date.  If lithium has been on everyone’s minds, it has shortcoming, such as with in any technologies.  So what about ultracapacitors?  Could they be ready sooner than we think?  If so, where would that leave the industry that has thrown considerable resources into lithium production?
EEStor, The Real McCoy? One company that has raised a few eyebrows over the past years has been EEStor.  The super-secretive ultracapacitor maker has made some interesting claims but no one ha seen their product.  The claim?  EEStor’s ultracapacitors would revolutionize electric vehicles, EV by offering a lighter battery than lithium that would hold more energy per weight and be cheaper to build.  EEStor has a fervent backer, the Canadian neighborhood electric vehicle, NEV maker ZENN.  Ian Clifford, ZENN’s CEO has often defended the company and now owns over 10% on EEStor.  Still the problem is, on one has seen anything.
Underwriters Laboratory.  If so far we only have rumors, hearsay and nothing tangible, EEStor has announced a third party certification of its ultracapacitor, through the Underwriters Laboratory, UL.  To spice things up, ZENN has ow announced it would stop manufacturing NEVs altogether and focus solely on developing its electric drive train and hopefully sale it to other EV makers.
Putting The Pieces Together.  This smells like a poker gamble but let us assume EEStor has indeed a working, functioning product that surpasses lithium, then it would make sense for ZENN to stop producing NEVs and work on its drivetrain technology.  The same could equally be debated that ZENN should now be concentrating on a bigger vehicle and blow the entire competition away.  While the second makes sense at first glance, the new EV industry is crowded and other companies have surpassed ZENN in terms of platform development.  So we can assume, ZENN is betting the entire bank on what EEStor’ product, which should be revealed at the end of the year.
What Does This Mean For EVs? Finally, the right question.  If EEStor finally has a product that is cheaper to make, vastly outperforms lithium battery technology, then there will a revolution within the revolution and car makers will find themselves with billions invested in a product that is inferior.  If indeed, EEStor’s claims are true, then the debate about lithium production and research is no longer valid.  It also means that the debate about hydrogen is no longer important, since we would have a light battery that could store more energy and be cheaper to produce.
So far we can deduce that EEStor does indeed have something by asking for a third party certification.  While it is too bad we have to endure endless unproven claims, the real question will be, does the product stack up against the hype?   We should find out by year end.

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