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More Ecotality Woes: Charging Stations Cut Power

Ecotality logoSome electric vehicle drivers will spend twice as long to charge their cars using Blink Level 2 charging stations, after owner Ecotality cut the power level on 12,000 chargers in response to a technical glitch.

The change will affect cars that can pull more than 16 amps, Plug In Cars reports. There have been multiple problems reported with high-amp charging since 2012, when some of the first 32-amp cars – such as the Ford Focus Electric, Honda Fit EV, Toyota RAV 4 EV and BMW Active E – were launched. The devices have overheated, in some cases melting charger handles and damaging cars.

The revelation is another blow for the company, whose star once seemed so bright as project manager of The EV Project, a government-backed initiative to develop mature charging infrastructure in 16 US cities. Both Ecotality and government partners called this the largest EV charging deployment ever undertaken in the US. As part of the project, the DOE awarded Ecotality $99.8 million in 2009 and another $15 million in 2010.

But the company says it will not generate sufficient revenue to support its operations in the second half of 2014, and has warned investors it may file for bankruptcy. It also emerged that the DOE suspended payments to the company. Plug In Cars sees a connection to the latest news – Ecotality’s inability to find capital “presumably” includes the cash needed to make a more permanent fix to the afflicted charging stations, the website says.

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