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August 30, 2006



Sounds like good news! I may buy one and hope to convert my car, or even just to store power from the grid.

Greg Woulf

This is one technology that triggers my skeptic.

With all the amazing technology in the last 20 years I won't say anything is impossible but there are some technologies that I reserve judgement on.

I hope it's even half of what they say it is.


didn't Elon Musk of Tesla Motors invest $50,000,000 into this company? I hope one day they will get a license to use EEstor's products.


I blogged this the last time it was noted here.  If it works, it is instant obsolescence for the internal-combustion engine.

If not, it's just going to happen slower.


Something that just occurred to me in discussion of these rapid charge battery technologies - maybe I'm missing something here, but as I see it they're not going to be recharged out of a standard wall socket.

Here in NZ we've got a 240V domestic power system, and wall sockets are usually on a 20A fuse. That's a maximum of 4.8kW available at a standard wall socket. For a notional 50kWh electric car power source, that's over 10 hours of charging time.

To put it another way, off a 240V AC source, that 50kWh battery/ultracapacitor/whatever will need a 2kA current supply to fully recharge in 6 minutes! Assuming no losses, etc.

If the EEStor ultracapacitor is for real, I think any car that uses them is going to need 2 - one in the car, and one sitting in the garage charging off cheap overnight power, ready to supply enough available current to fast charge the car.


You would rarely need ultra-fast charging at home - and I doubt massive upgrades to the power supply of all homes is feasible.

The high charge current would mostly be relevant from charging stations, e.g. at gas stations, where it is more realistic and feasible to install high-current outlets (with appropiate safety, of course).

Paul Dietz

The cost of adding another breaker box, and running a 100 amp (say) 240 V line to the garage, is going to be small compared to the cost of the car and the charger, I think. So I don't see that as a big cost issue.

I would worry very much about the safety of so much energy stored in high voltage capacitors. They will need reliable high voltage blocking diodes, or at least thermally tough current limiting resistors, to prevent a short in one capacitor from explosively discharging the entire stack.


Another point about ultra capacitors is that charge dissipates rapidly. There is little advantage to charging them fully. You lose the reservoir for regenerative systems, e.g., braking, suspension have they designed regenerative steering yet? The advantage to ultra caps are high kw/kg and that they work with efficient electric drives.

Ultra capacitors need to compete in cost and environmental impact with other means of storing and providing kinetic energy. The kinetic energy reservoir should be low in weight because you have to carry it all the time.

Current competitors are pneumatic, hydraulic and flywheels. What will "market realities" dictate? People will want "forget-about-it" reservoirs, which means less new production if using durable electric drives.

The point of this ramble is to encourage thinking of ultra caps as a part that helps the vehicle work rather than what to fill up at the filling station. Let's concentrate on how they could fit into a marketable, very high mileage, less polluting vehicles.



The big deal about eestor is that they promise a 50kwhr pack at about $2,000. That's incredibly cheap, about 10% of the cost of conventional li-ion's.

If they can do that, it really does change everything.

Of course, you're right, it would be nice if they reduced the self-discharge to well below the 3% per day of conventional capacitors, which would reduce recharging needs, and eliminate the cost of $.15 per day for losses.


You must not have read much about the EEStor capacitor. It can store 52kWh, enough for a 200-300 mile range with an electric drivetrain, depending on the car, with a weight of 330 lbs. It WOULD make the internal combustion engine obsolete, assuming people can get used to quiet electric cars and are not afraid to try a new technology (many people will be).

Now, if we assume that EEStor cannot meet their claims then yes, ultracapacitors would be good as part of improving the current technology. But this isn't a normal capacitor, ultra- or otherwise.

Robert McLeod

Generally speaking when a technology company is highly secretive it is because they can't demonstrate their claims.


The rules regarding forward looking statements for companies raising venture capital and planning IPOs are very easy for selectively zealous government regulators to use in order to prevent technology that threatens the powerful oil and auto companies from coming to fruition.

Check out the movie "Tucker". Corporate corruption of government regulation is even more pervasive now with both political parties constantly competing for campaign "contributions".

How else did ridiculous schemes like "clean" coal and corn to ethanol ever get all those subsidies while wind, wave, and solar electric powered vehicles lanquish in obscurity? This system is rotten to the core.

Any company aiming to make gas guzzling a thing of the past is at risk from these corpoRATS in the system.

Greg Woulf

I understand that the typical home system is limited in amperage and power supply, what I've always assumed was true was that if you can buy an ultra cap for the car, then you can buy 1 or more for your home, have them charge up at night or other non-peak times and dump their charge at a high rate into the mobile ultra cap in your car.

Sorry for the long sentence, I just figured the amperage bottleneck could be overcome in this way.


Sure, Greg, that would be a solution, but also twice as expensive. Again, how often do you need to recharge quickly at home? Quick recharge in a car with 200 miles range is almost solely relevant on long trips.

If you commute is longer than 200 miles, move closer to work or buy an economical diesel.

Greg Woulf

Twice the capacitor cost, plus a bit more for the controller hardware.

It wouldn't be twice the cost of a car. I'm not sure how much the capacitor would cost, but I can't imagine that it'd be too high considering that it's a one time cost that would most likely pay itself off fast and be way more convenient.

I'm still skeptical, but hopeful.

Roderick Williams

Extrapolating from two unproven information sources is probably wishful thinking...

The converted Mini blogged recently has a 21kWh battery and a claimed range of 200-250 on batteries alone. If this is correct it imples that on the 52kWh EEStor ultracap should give a range of 500-620 miles. Alternatively maintaining the same range would require 60kg of EEStor ultracap at $800.

Greg Woulf

$800 is a real number? I don't remember ever seeing a number.

Heck if it was only $800 the cost of a home unit would be nothing.

I'm thinking with something so world altering they'd mark it up 10X 'til they made their investment money and some nice profit.

Even at $8,000 it wouldn't be unreasonable if it worked as they speculate it will.

Greg Woulf

$800 is a real number? I don't remember ever seeing a number.

Heck if it was only $800 the cost of a home unit would be nothing.

I'm thinking with something so world altering they'd mark it up 10X 'til they made their investment money and some nice profit.

Even at $8,000 it wouldn't be unreasonable if it worked as they speculate it will.


"$800 is a real number?"

That's the whole question: they claim $2,000 for 52 Kwhrs. If true, world changing.

There's no theoretical reason for it not to work, AFAIK. Capacitor capacity is related to voltage, and Eestor voltage is very high. The question is an engineering one, I think: can they make that much voltage work?


About 7 kwh = the energy from one gallon of gas in an ICE. So 7 1/2 gallons of gas would get a 200+ range in a 30 mpg vehicle.

That would kill the ICE if this device were mass produced and came in around 2 to 3 thousand bucks wholesale.

Since it replaces the motor and transmission and related systems totaling over 600 pounds. At 330 pounds plus 200 for the electric motor and related systems that could be lighter than an iCE vehicle drivetrain.

As far as converting voltage, that is a technical problem well understood by engineering. It merely needs miniaturization from utility type systems down to vehicle systems.

Three phase current goes through a step down transformer into the motor/generator, then on braking current is turned into DC to recharge the storage device. Not rocket surgery or brain science.


This company is just scamming its investors. There is absolutely no reason to believe their claims. Just ignore them.

Harvey D.


I agree with you that quick charging an on-board electrical energy storage unit will quickly become a non-issue if done at the corner recharging-stations.

Of course, residential overnight recharge stations could be much slower and work from a standard 115 VAC/15 Amps outlet for smaller cars. People with shorter nights and larger cars could always use 220 VAC, 30 Amps outlets and corresponding chargers.

Handling 3500 Volts to and from the on-board storage unit safely may require special precautions but is definately NOT impossible to do.


I think they could use a 220 volt three phase system Harvey. That can power an inexpensive industrial motor by converting the high voltage DC from the capacitor to 220 volt three phase.

Then it can be used in reverse to boost the 220 charging current up to the higher DC voltage for capacitor storage during recharging. And to provide regenerative braking.

This system might benefit from a lithium ion fast charge nanotech battery configured to match the capacitor bank voltage. It would allow hard emergency braking, then the braking energy could be quickly dumped to the capacitor bank to restore the braking energy capacity of the batteries again.

It would provide a consistent, smooth braking effect no matter what the state of charge of the capacitor bank was.

Bill Cox

Two points:

First, the 'Claims' by EEStor are what they said in their patent application years ago. The inventors are a bunch of researchers with no clue about production costs, and a little thing called reality is a heck of an obstacle between and idea and production. Since then, I don't think I've heard any claims at all from EEStor.

Second, ultracapacitors are better, not worse than batteries for regenerative breaking. They charge/discharge faster, and with less loss.

My own primary concern for the technology (assuming it's real) is explosions. What will keep these things from going up in a huge ball of fire when the plates are shorted?


Well, I would guess that since none of the materials are flammable (i.e. explosive) and most are already oxides, there would be no explosion. Obviously, there would be alot of heat generated, so I wouldn't try and grab the capacitor afterward as it might reach a couple thousand degrees F, but I don't think it should be any more dangerous than gasoline.


FYI I got this off another forum.
It is supposed to be a copy of the actual EEStor patent.



Why do people always cry about fireballs and explosions when talking about batteries? Remember gasoline? The main ingredient in napalm? That stuff that fuels your current car?

And as for EEStor, I'm hopeful yet skeptical. I'm not praising it for saving the world yet, but if their claims are true, then I'll probably start doing that. And with the current timeframe of Q1 2007, we'll know pretty soon, won't we?

Also, there are a couple of indicators that this is the real deal:
1. Kleiner Perkins investment- A major, legitimate venture capitalist firm would probably not even consider throwing millions of dollars at a venture that wasn't going anywhere. Also, this means the start up has the finances to actually get moving.
2. Feel Good Cars deal: EEStor has already signed a deal with an auto manufacturer. Again, more legitimacy, because no company would just throw money around unless they thought it would really get them somewhere.
3. Richard Weir and Carl Nelson: We know who these people are, they were engineers at IBM and Xerox, and have already started up a successful company before: Tulip Memory Systems
4. Building on proven technology: Ultra capacitors are in almost every piece of electronics today. This company is only claiming they can build one that stores alot more energy in a given volume/mass. This isn't some crazy Zero Point Energy scheme or something like that.




I suspect that the CNN article is a wild exaggeration of what's really possible. They make it sound like EEStor can make a Ferrari capable of 500 miles for $9 out of a normal family sedan for only a small premium for the engine. Well, I'll believe that when I see it!

The claims may have some truth individually, but not all at the same time, which is implied in the article.

Expect to see modestly powered small cars with desent acceleration and modest top speed first. At a substantial premium. But I'm sure there will be a market, and prices/performace ratio will continue to improve.

Paul Dietz

Why do people always cry about fireballs and explosions when talking about batteries? Remember gasoline? The main ingredient in napalm? That stuff that fuels your current car?

The gasoline in your car's tank is in contact with only a small amount of air. The oxidized and reduced materials in a battery are much closer together. The energy in a capacitor is in an even more potentially explosive form.


Paul: Good points. I have seen far smaller capacitors explode...this EEStore thing (IF real) has the power of over 100 sticks of dynamite. Failure analysis will be tricky.

Klaus: Venture capitalists can be hoodwinked when they don't look deep enough. I could show you a capacitor that on the surface looks like it would work, but when you try to multiply it or charge it as they are claiming, it fails.

The "ultracapacitors" you refer to are necessarily rated at 3 volts or less. They cannot take the high voltage (3000v) needed, the physics doesn't work.

Further more, the EEStore announcement gets pushed further and further out...see the post on http://thefraserdomain.typepad.com/energy/2006/01/eestor_ultracap.html#comment-24008179

The EEStore system for Zenn cars is now sometime in 2008.

new balance

Don't part with your illusions . When they are gone you may still exist , but you have ceased to live.

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