EEStor chief executive Richard Weir declined to comment on the development of the technology and the agreement with Lockheed. But he told Technology Review in an e-mail message that he’s anticipating another “technical news release in the near future,” at which time he would be open to discussing EEStor’s progress in more detail.
ZENN chief executive Ian Clifford remains optimistic. “Every restatement of delivery time has been for good reasons,” he says, suggesting that the Lockheed announcement and the due diligence that led to it “add credibility to the technology.” He’s now expecting delivery of the energy-storage unit in mid-2008. And it won’t be a prototype, he emphasizes: it will be a mass-produced commercial product. “This is about commercialization, not hitting technology roadblocks. We’re in constant contact with EEStor, with regular visits to their site. We always come away from every meeting much more excited that this is going to happen.”
ZENN has already switched to a different motor in its current low-speed electric vehicle, partly in anticipation of the new energy storage technology. “We’re first in line,” says Clifford. “We understand we’ll be taking the first product off the production facility being built right now.”
Liebman, who says that he has visited EEStor’s facility in Cedar Park and was impressed, also expressed confidence in the company. He notes that EEStor’s approach so far allows for a rapid ramp-up in production. “I think it’s very real,” he says.