Zenn Motors is the Canadian electric car company which is 10.7% owner of secretive ultra-capacitor start-up EEStor. Texas-based EEStor is said to be building a new breakthrough barium-based battery that will be far lighter, smaller, cheaper, and long-lived than current lithium-ion cells.
EEStor has been working on this for at least a decade and to date no known prototypes have ever been demonstrated. According to Zenn, however, that is all about to change as the first units are expected to be delivered this December.
In June, Zenn Motors through its US-based subsidiary Zenn America applied for an unsolicited grant to the Department of Energy. The application was mailed and endorsed by Congressman Mark Schauer who wrote:
ZMC America is seeking funding from the Department of Energy to support the establishment of an Ultra High Energy Drive applied research and development facility in my congressional district here in Michigan. The objective of this facility is to enable the rapid commercialization of next generation electric vehicles with extensive on-board power storage.
Reports indicated that a decision would arrive by the end of September.
We have determined the outcome of this.
According to Joe Culver of the DOE, "John M. Lushetsky of DOE's EERE office, sent him (Congressman Schauer) a letter (dated Oct. 3) regarding the funding request."
Inquiry to the Congressman's office has resulted in the following response from press secretary Zack Pohl:
The letter we received from the DOE said that the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Program is active in all facets of advanced vehicle research, including electric drive train development. The Department does not, however, fund the building and equipping of research and development facilities.
Having said that, DOE said Zenn may wish to participate in the Department’s ongoing research in advanced vehicle technologies, and pointed the company to learn about other possible funding opportunities on their website.
Much like all EEStor news, nothing is ever close-ended. Though Zenn did not get monies to build a US based R&D facility through this request, there may still be more funding opportunities yet unexplored.
And the wait continues.