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Ecotality Bankruptcy Could Give Nissan Its Own Charger Network | PluginCars.com

Imagine the national presence that Nissan electric cars would have if the Blink name was replaced with Nissan Zero Emissions branding.
With the announcement of Ecotality’s filing for bankruptcy earlier this week, it was revealed that Nissan gave the company, which operates the DOE-sponsored Blink Network of EV charging, a lifeline of $1.25 million to continue operations. The Blink Network, through the bankruptcy process, will likely offer its entire operations or its key assets for sale in an auction. It’s too early to tell if Nissan is in the running to take control of Blink, but there are excellent reasons why it makes sense.

The logic is simple: without fully functioning private and public chargers, electric car sales will suffer. Beyond that, the Blink bankruptcy—and the inability of any major EV charging network provider to demonstrate a successful business model for selling very inexpensive electricity to drivers—signals a shift in the corporate structure for public charging.

Despite the claims of entrepreneurial start-ups, building a sustainable business around electric vehicle charging is extremely difficult. Not only are charging stations expensive to install and maintain, but with limited numbers of plug-in cars on the road, it could take several years before there are enough plug-in drivers to make a profitable business of public charging.

Ecotality, like many other charging networks around the world, used government funds to kick start its network—but was unable to make the transition to self-sufficiency.

To date, despite donating charging stations to dealerships and participating in industry events, Nissan has ceded responsibility for public charging to third-party operators. If Nissan continues to sit back and watch charging networks go down, the impact could be disastrous. A new reality is emerging: For Nissan to hit sales targets for its LEAF and subsequent electric models, it needs to step up and get more directly involved with the charging industry.

Case Study: Tesla

More http://www.plugincars.com/why-blink-bankruptcy-could-give-nissan-its-own-charger-network-128344.html

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