CarCharging Wins Bid On Purchasing ECOtality’s Blink Network

OCT 11 2013 BY JAY COLE 10

Two months ago, charging station provider ECOtality warned that it was in a spot of financial trouble and might be headed to bankruptcy.

Why was ECOtality failing?

As Part Of The Deal 110 Blink DC Fast Chargers Now Will Belong To CarCharging

As Part Of The Deal 110 Blink DC Fast Chargers Now Will Belong To CarCharging

  • the company disclosed they were not selling enough EVs to be profitable
  • the ones they did sell were defective
  • their future product lineup (Minit) had failed in the R&D phase
  • OEMs were threatening to publically disclose problems with the chargers as well as advising the public to avoid using their products
  • and last but not least – the DoE had suspended any remaining payments from a $100+ million grant (in connection with the EV Project) to the maker of Blink EVSE stations.

Sure enough, these problems were all far too big to manage, and 3 weeks ago the company did indeed file for Chapter 11 – leaving all that was left to do was auction off the assets to the highest bidder.

In total, some 13,000-odd Charging Units Were Sold To CarCharging

In total, some 13,000-odd Charging Units Were Sold To CarCharging

Auction day has now come and gone; with a reported winning bid of $3.3 million dollars (via Dow Jones) to acquire ECOtality’s main business – the Blink network by Blink Acquisition, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Car Charging Group, Inc.

Blink Customer's Can Expect Warranty Obligations To Now Be Met By CarCharging

Blink Customer’s Can Expect Warranty Obligations To Now Be Met By CarCharging

What did CarCharging get for their money?

  • all of Blink’s on hand inventory
  • 12,450+ odd L2 installed charging stations
  • 110 DC Fast charging stations
  • and the Blink network itself

Dirty math puts the buyout of assets at around $250 per charging station.

“Since our inception, CarCharging’s intent has been to grow our business organically and through acquisitions, and with the purchase of ECOtality’s Blink assets, we believe that it will solidify our position as the leader in the electric vehicle charging industry,” said Chief Executive Officer of CarCharging, Michael D. Farkas.

In a “good news for Blink EVSE users,” as part of the deal, CarCharging is expected to honor warranty agreements with existing Blink customers.

Also of interest:  Other assets not included in the main ECOtality bid were also sold off at the same time.  Minit-Charger was bought by Access Control Group for $250,000 and ETEC Labs (ECOtality’s R&D wing) was purchased by Intertek for $750,000.


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10 Comments on "CarCharging Wins Bid On Purchasing ECOtality’s Blink Network"

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Good. Thanks for the update, Jay.

I prefer this than seeing Nissan taking over. Unlike an automaker, which could operate its network at a loss, killing competition, CarCharging will be on a level playing field with Chargepoint, evGo etc.
My only concern is, I only use quick-chargers, and those aren’t CarCharging’s forte…

I agree about the Blink DC QCharger net… 240v chargers are only useful at home or at places we tend to stay for hours… theatres, places without clocks where we lose track of time like Target stores and casinos. Opportunity charging works… but DC QC works better.

I hope the plan is to eventually replace the blink stations with something more reliable. Makes no sense to keep spending money repairing them.

My repair was literally to replace a connecting wire between two boards with a higher quality one and redo a splice. It only cost them a few bucks. It has worked flawlessly since that minor repair … knock on wood.

Well, the parts only cost a few bucks – but sending a truck out likely cost at least $100-200.

I think the problem is with the Rema made 1772 connector, not the Blink units themselves. They did not crimp the pins properly.

The Rema plug problem is a big one – but far from the only reliability issue the Blink stations have.

This is interesting – CarCharging operates the public L2s in Syracuse. I wonder if this will translate into some quick chargers nearby?

Doubtful. They have not demonstrated much interest in DC fast charing to date, and I wonder what this could spell for the existing QC installations. Personally, I was hoping that Nissan or some other party keenly interested to see fast charging succeed would get hold of ECOtality’s QC network. The SAE CCS standard deservedly gets flak, because of the deployment support it has garnered so far and the unclear intentions guiding it. That said, for CHAdeMO to be successful and continue to dominate the market, I think it would be good to send a strong message, and take it to the next evolutionary level.

Ecotality gets ripped on pretty hard, and all your points are valid, but it’s also worth recognizing Ecotality for some very valuable contributions through the EV Project. Their reporting under this project has been extremely valuable to the industry as a whole. Just have a quick browse through the Lessons Learned section on their documents page, there’s a lot of interesting reading, some of it very recent: