EEStor to Super Charge Electric Bikes

We still haven’t seen exactly how secretive EEStor’s ambiguously named Electrical Energy Storage Unit (EESU) works, but the Cedar Park, Texas-based startup has been racking up the technology partners. Light Electric Vehicles Company (LightEVs) says it has signed an exclusive agreement with EEStor to use the EESU in two- and three-wheeled vehicles. This follows partnerships with military-industrial giant Lockheed Martin and electric car maker ZENN. EEStor is aiming to start commercial production of its EESUs sometime in 2009, though its not clear which partners will get first dibs.

According to the Eugene, Ore.-based LightEV’s website, it is working on electric propulsion systems for electric bicycles, scooters, motorcycles, and three-wheeled vehicles, which will be built in partnership with existing manufacturers and under its own brands. John Stephens, Executive Vice President, said in the release that LightEVs plans to use EEStor’s technology to make an electric bicycle with a 100 mile range and is considering developing a three-wheel, two-passenger electric vehicle with a range of up to 500 miles on a single charge and a top speed of 85 mph. Impressive sounding, but we’re still waiting for details on how the technology exactly works and performs.

LightEVs describes EEStor’s technology as a “multilayered barium titanate ceramic capacitor,” and the company has said its units are based on “ultra capacitor architecture.” EEStor expects its technology to provide 10 times the energy of lead-acid batteries at one tenth the weight and half the price.

EEStor signed an international rights agreement with military-industrial giant Lockheed Martin to integrate its EESUs into military applications. Meanwhile, Electric car maker ZENN Motor Cars invested $2.5 million in EEStor in 2007 for a 3.8 percent stake in the company, putting EEStor’s estimated equity valuation at the time at some $66 million. ZENN says it has the rights to use EEStor’s technology in new vehicles weighing up to 1,400 kilos, as well as for retrofits.

Founded in 2001 by disk-storage vets Richard D. Weir, Carl Nelson, and Richard S. Weir, EEStor reportedly received $3 million in backing from Kleiner Perkins in 2005, though the startup is not listed in Kleiner’s portfolio. Additionally, MIT Technology Review says former Dell Computer chairman Morton Topfer sits on EEStor’s board.

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