ECOtality At Risk Of Bankruptcy

Credit: ECOtality
ECOtality, long a leader in EV charging infrastructure, may be on the ropes financially. From a recent SEC filing, ECOtality writes:

Although the Company is currently exploring options for a restructuring or sale of the entire business and/or assets of the Company, the Company may need to file a petition commencing a case under the United States Bankruptcy Code as part of any such process or otherwise in the very near future.

The Company is facing some uncertainty regarding the resolution of a phenomenon occurring in some of the Company’s previously installed EVSEs which causes overheating, and in certain rare cases melting, of the connector plug that connects the EVSE to the electric vehicle when charging.

ECOtality, which has been selling its Blink charger all over the place, says that EV drivers have charged up for nearly 100 million miles of driving (the ticker is over 99,470,000 miles as I type this). Some of its many big-name partners include Kroger, Kohl’s, Southwest Airlines, Hilton Hotels, and ABB. It was supposed to roll out a new charger, “Mint Charger,” but that fell through due to technical problems with the charger.

Autoblog Green adds: “For the past few years, ECOtality has been the project manager of The EV Project, a $230-million effort funded in part by a $114.8-million DOE federal stimulus grant to install 15,000 commercial and residential charging stations. Some of those stations are not working as advertised.”

Apparently, the financial situation of the company is so dire that the US DOE has put any further stimulus payments to the company on hold.

In a follow-up post regarding ECOtality’s situation, Autoblog Green writes:

Ecotality has counted on DOE funds for its growth. The company has received more than $100 million in federal funds, $99.8 million of which has gone into the construction of EV charging stations primarily through the DOE-sponsored EV Project. 12,000 of the company’s chargers may need to be recalled, too.

The federal funds were squeezed in 2011 when the Securities and Exchange Commission investigated Ecotality for insider trading. Ecotality had also been under investigation by the US Department of Labor for possible violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Davis-Bacon Act. However, the charging company continued receiving federal funds until recently.

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