Blink network ... Bankrupt?

Blink network ... Bankrupt?

ECOtality is a San Francisco, California-based company which manufactures and sells charging systems for electric vehicles pursuant to an agreement with the U.S. Department of Energy (“DOE”). Following quarter after quarter of reporting “record” sales and claiming the Company was successfully diversifying its business model away from the heavily-subsidized sales business through the DOE, the Company’s stock price spiraled, allowing it to stave off a delisting by the NASDAQ and to conduct an $8.2 million private placement to raise capital. Then, on August 12, 2013, the Company disclosed that the DOE had suspended all payments to the Company, had ordered the Company to cease incurring new costs under its prior arrangement with DOE, and had ordered it to notify all of ECOtality’s vendors of the DOE’s action. The Company also disclosed that it was unable to correct design and manufacturing defects in its charging systems, likely requiring a recall of all connector plugs on the 12,000 charging stations it had installed to date; that the Company was unable to meet its 2H 2013 release date for a new industrial charging device it had promised to release in the 2H 2013; and that as a result, it had hired a restructuring adviser to evaluate options including filing a bankruptcy.

Dramsey | 19. August 2013

Well, dammit. I'm starting to think Tesla will be the Last One Standing.

mrspaghetti | 19. August 2013

Most companies that rely on government subsidy are either poorly run or downright crooked. Tesla never relied upon government subsidies, that's one of the reasons it's different. It also has Elon.

AmpedRealtor | 19. August 2013

But do the chargers still work? Also, what is this recall on the connector plugs? Is this something that can damage the vehicle?

dstiavnicky | 19. August 2013

I took a bath on the stock due to their dishonesty (which has several pending lawsuits now). I am still hoping one of the big guys (i.e. - GE for example) would buy their network out, fix it up and continue to support future electric vehicles...

Andrew_OH_S60andS70D | 19. August 2013

I used a Blink charger this weekend. I used my Blink card, but what was interesting is that I was not charged for the charging. I wonder if they just walked away. These two chargers are at a large outdoor shopping area in Columbus, OH.

You'll note that their map says one unavailable. This is because it was listed as broken. I tried both on Saturday, and they both worked.

I only got 24 amps, and the voltage was low as well. I really needed a good charge, so it took a lot longer than with a full 30 amps.

soma | 19. August 2013

I would really love it if (as discussed in other threads) Tesla could have a Level 3 DC adapter. The Blink network (I believe) has a good number of these chargers rolled out in cities. | 19. August 2013

They are still hanging in there--used a couple of them today, in fact.


Earl and Nagin ... | 19. August 2013
It seems that Blink just reduced the current at their charging stations to 16 Amps.
This effectively doubles the cost to charge a Model S since they charge by the hour and it will now take twice as long.
Good riddance to them. I hope whomever replaces them has a plan to put in better equipment. Blinks are inoperable too often to ever be able to count on being able to charge when you need one. They might as well not be there.

Dramsey | 19. August 2013

Most companies that rely on government subsidy are either poorly run or downright crooked.

Like every residential solar installer? (granted, the subsidies are paid to the homeowners, not the company directly, but the industry would collapse overnight without them.)

In fact almost all current renewable/green energy production is subsidized, so...

Doug H | 19. August 2013

Thank government for the subsidies to renewable energy companies. Without them the infrastructure would never be built. There will be other Blinks on the way to a viable electric car market.

Without the loans to Tesla, they might not have made it either. TM is a very well run company and produced the product that we now drive today. But there will be Fiskers and others that aren't so well run or use the wrong business model or make the wrong bets on technology.

However, this technology is in the public interest and I applaud the politicians that have the balls to continue to back it with real dollars. They risk their buts for something that is worth it.

stevenmaifert | 19. August 2013

@Dramsey - Let's not forget every PEV/PHEV manufacturer that touts the federal tax credits and state rebates in their marketing effort. Like the residential solar, it's an indirect subsidy.

EclecticCitizen | 19. August 2013

Wow, that sucks. I use Blink stations frequently when I run errands and they had generally charged enough to regain the energy of the commute and pre-cool my car off the grid. Low amps will now be insufficient and a waste of time. It does explain why I wasn't charged last time I plugged in though.

It shows that they knew of this problem all along. I called them over the winter when they turned down all the Phoenix area stations to 17Amps and they denied that it reflected any problem (despite news reports of Toyota and Nissan EVs with melted J1772 handles stuck to them). They told me they were turned down for a few days for routine testing. They were actually turned down for 2-3 weeks; I know because it was the first few weeks of my Model S ownership, and it was painfully slow to charge when my car arrived with only 60 miles of range.

They continue to deploy new stations in the Phoenix area, so they must have some plans to move forward.
Where are you GoE3?! Wanna jump into short distance EV infrastructure too?

Dramsey | 19. August 2013

Let's not forget every PEV/PHEV manufacturer that touts the federal tax credits and state rebates in their marketing effort. Like the residential solar, it's an indirect subsidy.

Yep. Being of a Libertarian bent, I disagree with this on principle. The gummint has a poor record of success making bets like this. Today's example: mandating a given percentage of ethanol in gasoline, which involved subsidizing the production of ethanol from corn, then requiring refineries to by it. Overall effect on air pollution: pretty much zero. Reduced mileage from your car? Check. Increased food prices? Check.

I've said the Tesla is so good that it can stand on its own without rebates and subsidies. I suspect most owners would agree.

Whether subsidizing alternative energy is a good idea remains to be seen. I think the only possible argument that could be made in favor would be environmental, since solar and wind have received subsidies for decades and even after all this time, neither is feasible without.

Brian H | 19. August 2013

The company is on the Blink.

stimeygee | 19. August 2013

This is not a good thing; we need EV chargers of any stripe.

makemeupkc | 25. August 2013

Item 3.01. Notice of Delisting or Failure to Satisfy a Continued Listing Rule or Standard; Transfer of Listing.
On August 20, 2013, ECOtality, Inc. (the "Company") received a letter from The NASDAQ Stock Market LLC ("NASDAQ") notifying the Company of its failure to comply with Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) for continued listing (the "Notice") because its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2013 was not filed on a timely basis with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the "SEC"). Listing Rule 5250(c)(1) requires registrants to timely file all required periodic financial reports with the SEC. NASDAQ Rules require public announcement to disclose the Company's receipt of such Notice within four business days of receipt.

AmpedRealtor | 25. August 2013

I'm curious... how much government money did Ecotality/Blink take and how much did they pay their executive team? I could be a CEO, too, and take a bunch of government money to build things, pay myself an exorbitant salary plus bonuses, then run the company into the ground, file bankruptcy and thanks for the money guys!

I think I'm starting to view American capitalism in a new light.

shop | 25. August 2013

@Amped, that's the way the world truly works. It isn't only govt money. Businesses get loans from commercial banks, VCs invest in startups. All these examples has the CEO present a business plan based on past performance or projections and if they can get someone to fund,it's off to the races. That's the whole point of capitalism. Invest capital today for returns tomorrow. Some businesses will fail, some will succeed.

makemeupkc | 17. September 2013

NEW YORK (AP) -- Ecotality, which makes charging systems for electric vehicles, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and wants to sell its assets in an auction.
Ecotality Inc. said it made the filing Monday in Arizona. The company had said in August that it might be forced into a sale or bankruptcy filing after disappointing sales and a suspension of payments from the federal government. It has also paid $855,000 in back wages and damages to resolve an investigation by the Department of Labor into allegations that the company broke labor laws.
The San Francisco company makes charging and power-storage systems for electric vehicles under the Blink and Minit Charger brands, including charging stations for the Nissan Leaf. It also does testing for government agencies, auto makers and utilities.
Ecotality wants to sell its assets through a bankruptcy auction, which the bankruptcy court must approve. The company also said Nissan will allow it to borrow as much as $1.3 million. The court will also review that proposed loan.
Ecotality has received more than $100 million in funding from the Department of Energy since 2009. The company has also received funding from the state of California and from Australia.
The Energy Department suspended payments to Ecotality after the company said in August that it might not be able to meet its obligations to the agency's electric vehicle program if it couldn't find new financing.
Ecotality's revenue nearly doubled to $54.7 million in 2012. The company took an annual loss of $9.6 million, narrower than its $22.5 million loss in 2011.
But the company said last month that it was unable to sell enough commercial electric vehicle equipment to sustain operations in the second half of the year. It also said it would miss the scheduled release later this year of a new Minit Charger product for industrial customers because of "unacceptable performance" during testing.
Shares of Ecotality fell 7 cents to close at 16 cents. The stock closed at $1.46 on Aug. 9, the last business day before Ecotality said it might have to file for bankruptcy protection.

makemeupkc | 17. September 2013

Blink is gone in a blink

Brian H | 17. September 2013

Blink is Blank.

P85D | 11. November 2013

^^ crazy ^^

jat | 11. November 2013

@jackie cox - why don't you sell the stock short? Given your confidence in the outcome, it will just be free money.