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Watchdog: DOE grants to car charging company were ‘overly generous’

Federal grants to a firm that makes charging stations for electric vehicles were “overly generous,” but not illegal, the Energy Department’s internal watchdog found.

The financing arrangement the DOE brokered regarding $135 million of federal grants awarded to San Francisco-based Ecotality was a bit sweet, DOE’s Office of Inspector General said in a report released Monday

“While we did not specifically identify evidence indicating that the cost-share was prohibited under federal regulations, we did note that the amount of cost-share permitted appeared to be fairly generous,” DOE Inspector General Gregory H. Friedman wrote.

Ecotality had secured the grants for a regional demonstration project for electric vehicle charging stations.

The firm had been the subject of GOP criticism for the $100 million it received in 2009 from the Obama administration’s federal stimulus, on top of the $35 million of separate federal grants it snagged between 2005 and 2011.

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