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ZENN Motor Company (V.ZNN) rocked by energy storage testing debacle, down 49%

Chris Parry Chris Parry, Stockhouse.com
0 Comments| December 10, 2013


Shares in Toronto-based alternative energy car developer Zenn Motor Company (TSX:V.ZNN, Stock Forum) have lost 49% of their value in trading Tuesday after the company announced an independent testing body had determined the EEStor energy storage layers tested by that company, “did not show any meaningful levels of energy discharge (energy-out).”
 
In layman’s terms, the product, which is supposed to be the core of Zenn’s battery system, stores energy but doesn’t appear to provide enough to make a car go forward.
 
Shares in Zenn dropped from $1.14 at Monday’s close to $0.58 at noon trading Tuesday.
 
According to the Zenn news release, “After initial consultation with EEStor, [consulting firm Evans Capacitor] spent several weeks to develop its own testing protocols. Evans' focus was to develop testing protocols that would measure energy that is put into each layer and then the energy that could be taken out of the same layer. […] It has tested the procedures on known capacitors to verify reliability and accuracy of the tests.”
 
EEStor, as it did during the first round of problems, isn’t admitting there's a problem, stating “the layers provided by EEStor to Evans were not commercial ready layers and were not expected to demonstrate high energy density and that the layers were provided to Evans solely to assist Evans in developing testing protocols.”
 
This, despite an October 29 news release from Zenn that clearly stated in the opening paragraph, “Evans Capacitor Company of East Providence, Rhode Island ("Evans Capacitor") has agreed to assist both companies in developing testing protocols and to conduct independent testing of the EESU layers manufactured by EEStor and report on its comprehensive testing results.”
 
It continued, “EEStor and ZENN understand that the use of independent third party experts to verify performance data and information is critical to the development of the EESUs.”
 
As well as claiming the testing layers weren’t supposed to be tested, EEStor also says there might be a problem with how Evans Capacitor, an International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) registered company that supplies mission critical components to major defense and aerospace companies, ran its testing procedures.
 
This is not the first problem Zenn has had with the EEStor product, having previously found that it could not replicate EEStor testing results in its own facility, which was what warranted the hiring of Evans Capacitors Company to establish clear testing benchmarks and data.
 
At that time, Zenn stated the company had “asked its consultant to oversee testing at two different facilities and engaged an experienced testing expert to assist him in some of the tests. In the testing of the layers it purchased, ZENN has to date not been able to confirm similar results to those reported by EEStor's testing company on the EEStor tested layers.”


 
Zenn has made a move to support EEStor financially by taking a stake in the business, but has pushed the final decision on that investment back a few weeks, presumably to give it time to sort through the latest data before it commits.
 
A determination that the EEStor product doesn’t work for its needs would be devastating to both EEStor and Zenn, so the car company has yet to fully embrace the Evans results, stating, “ZENN is working to have Evans and EEStor collaborate to better understand what steps can be taken to develop testing procedures that they both believe can be relied upon so that future developments can be quickly and reliably reported on.”
 
Zenn has a market cap of $25.3 million and 43 million shares outstanding.

UPDATE: EEStor has released a statement calling the Evans test "of limited value", punting the issue down the road until mid-January when it says it will have new equipment in place.

Tags: AUTO MANUFACTURERS CONSUMER CYCLICAL

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