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ECOtality considers bankruptcy; Blink tries to reassure Electric Vehicle customers

August 12, 2013

ECOtality is looking into filing for bankruptcy, according to several reports released today.  The company is the overseer of the U.S. Department of Energy program which allowed my husband, and thousands of others to receive subsidies  for the installation of a home electric vehicle charging station (EVSE).

“Electric car charging station network operator ECOtality announced today they are looking into bankruptcy or a sale of the company. The move comes after the company failed to release a new charging station product, and amid declining income from administering the EV Project.”

I have included links to the stories about the possible bankruptcy and reports that the DOE has suspended payments to the company. It was my understanding that the home charging station program was coming to an end anyway. However, I do wonder what the implications will be for those of us who have Blink charging stations installed under the program. What does this mean for the maintenance of the charging stations and the sharing of the data from those stations? Under the program, users agree to share data from their chargers with the DOE. We have a Blink charger at our house.

ECOtatlity owns Blink, as explained on the Blink website:  “Blink is an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and product line owned by ECOtality, Inc. Blink refers to the branded EV charging stations, software, and online service components that make up a rich charging infrastructure known as the Blink Network.”

Blink also posted the following message on its website:

An Important Message

“We wanted you to know that the needs of our drivers are paramount to us and despite the challenges we currently face, we will continue to operate the Blink Network and maintain our Blink chargers until further notice. We urge you to visit a Blink charger today and show that you support the growth of a public charging infrastructure.”

The EV Project received more than $100 million from the Department of Energy. ECOtality, according to reports, partly blamed its financial problems on its failure to start selling charging stations directly to customers as the EV Project wound down.

This, of course, points to the continuing problem of finding a viable business model for charging stations as the number of EV car sales remains such a minuscule portion of total auto sales.

This story also discusses the bankruptcy.

What are your thoughts?

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8 Comments
  1. Ben White permalink

    What is the business relationship between Ecotality and Blink? Are they separate companies?

    • Hello Ben. ECOtality owns Blink, which are the electric vehicle charging stations (EVSE) Here is how it is explained on the Blink website: “Blink is an electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure and product line owned by ECOtality, Inc. Blink refers to the branded EV charging stations, software, and online service components that make up a rich charging infrastructure known as the Blink Network.”

  2. GGPA permalink

    There is a quick charger at Stanford Shopping Center. I am told it no longer works because the company that installed it went bankrupt. I would be tragic if the blink public chargers suffered the same fate.

    I really hope the bankruptcy is handled properly, like the satellite phone service several years ago, and this is an opportunity to get new investment, write off the sunk costs, and keep the blink network up and running on a sustainable basis.

  3. GGPA the Stanford Shopping Center DCQC station works — mostly. 350Green was sold to CCGI (Car Charging Group). What doesn’t work is you cannot get a new card to use that station if you didn’t already have one. I have had occasions where my card didn’t work and I couldn’t reach anyone to get it reloaded. They still charge $7 for a session.

    • Thanks for filling me in on this. I will ask my husband to try it next time he is in the area. A charge of $7 is very high.

      • GGPA permalink

        If you need a card to use the charger, and people cannot get a new card or refill an existing card, is the charger mostly working or mostly broken?

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