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USA: Ecotality Examined: For Electric Vehicle Company, Politics is Business

Ecotality “is a great example of the stimulus act doing what it was supposed to do,” explained company spokeswoman Jeanine L’Ecuyer in May of 2010. “ETEC was teetering. It was a company trying very hard to stay in business. This grant has created jobs and put this company back on track.”
eTec was the North American subsidiary of Ecotality, which received $115 million in two stimulus grants through the Energy Department to manufacture electric vehicle charging stations. The parent company is now under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission. Yesterday, Scribe posted a subpoena sent to former eTec CEO Donald Karner in December.
L’Ecuyer’s statement is indicative of a larger strategy at Ecotality that appears to have banked on receiving taxpayer support (the accuracy of her stimulus assessment will be explored in part three). Indeed, in the first half of 2010, the DOE grants accounted for more than half of Ecotality’s revenues, and the company posted net losses of $12.3 million.
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