EcoTality electric car charging company blows $100 million and eyes bankruptcy

Back in October, 2010, I attended a promotional meeting put on by Ecotality (see article here.)  At that time I wrote:

“Tucson is the guinea pig for a project run by ECOtality of North America to install chargers for electric vehicles in 16 cities throughout the country. Tucson will get 240 chargers. The company hopes, during the next few years, to install 14,650 level 2 (220V) chargers and 310 DC fast chargers. The level 2 chargers can replenish batteries in 4- to 6 hours, while the DC fast chargers can give at least half a charge in 30 minutes. The bulk of the money, some $114.8 million, comes from government grants, your tax dollars.”

Now, The Hill, is reporting that “Obama-backed electric car charging company eyes bankruptcy.”  “ECOtality Inc., an Energy Department-backed maker of electric car charging systems, is facing a major cash crunch and could file for bankruptcy.  The company, which has been awarded nearly $100 million in grant funding under the 2009 stimulus law, disclosed Monday that it’s weighing a restructuring or sale as it seeks more outside capital. “

In the past two years, Ecototality did manage to install 12,500 charging stations in 18 U.S. cities according to The Hill.

My 2010 story ended with this: “It remains to be seen whether or not arrays of charging stations will attract customers. It’s like the “Field of Dreams.” If they build it, will customers come?”  Apparently not.  It looks like Obama’s Energy Department blew $100 million for nothing.

It looks like Ecotality may join the long list of President Obama’s Taxpayer-Backed Green Energy Failures:

Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*

SpectraWatt ($500,000)*

Solyndra ($535 million)*

Beacon Power ($43 million)*

Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)

SunPower ($1.2 billion)

First Solar ($1.46 billion)

Babcock and Brown ($178 million)

EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*

Amonix ($5.9 million)

Fisker Automotive ($529 million)

Abound Solar ($400 million)*

A123 Systems ($279 million)*

Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*

Johnson Controls ($299 million)

Brightsource ($1.6 billion)

ECOtality ($126.2 million)

Raser Technologies ($33 million)*

Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*

Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*

Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*

Range Fuels ($80 million)*

Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*

Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*

Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*

GreenVolts ($500,000)

Vestas ($50 million)

LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)

Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*

Navistar ($39 million)

Satcon ($3 million)*

Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*

Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)

*Denotes companies that have filed for bankruptcy.

A question for Tucson electric car owners: Do you use chargers around town?  Where are they?

See also:

Electric cars not doing well in Ireland



  1. It would be interesting to know how many of these chargers were actually installed in Tucson.

  2. Bankruptcies make it “seem” like these enterprises were a failure, but how many corporate insiders enriched themselves through those taxpayer-funded corporate veils? (rhetorical question)

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