Ecotality, an electric car charger maker, files for bankruptcy

Tue Sep 17, 2013 7:24pm EDT
 
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By Jonathan Stempel

(Reuters) - Ecotality Inc ECTY.O, a maker of charging stations for electric cars that won a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy four years ago, has filed for bankruptcy protection and said it plans to auction its assets next month.

The San Francisco-based company is among a growing number of U.S. alternative-energy companies that have struggled or succumbed amid consumer resistance to the high cost and restricted driving range associated with electric vehicles.

Ecotality and five affiliates filed for Chapter 11 protection on Monday night with the U.S. bankruptcy court in Phoenix.

The company said eight parties have expressed interest in bidding on its assets and that it wants to hold an auction on October 9, with a closing to occur within two days.

Citing "significant liquidity constraints and the difficulty of obtaining long-term financing," Ecotality said an auction is necessary to maximize value for creditors and avoid a "fire-sale liquidation."

Ecotality makes systems for electric vehicles under the Blink and Minit Charger brands. It had warned on August 12 that a bankruptcy filing was possible, amid disappointing sales and a suspension of payments from the federal government.

Among other U.S. alternative energy companies, green car startup Coda Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy protection in May after selling just 100 all-electric sedans.

Meanwhile, the Energy Department on Tuesday said it will in October sell a non-performing loan made to another green car startup, Fisker Automotive.   Continued...