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Syracuse Non-Profit Replaces Blink Charging Stations, Sues Ecotality

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ECOtality Blink charging stations for electric & plug-in cars

ECOtality Blink charging stations for electric & plug-in cars

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Just as those buying an electric car have a choice of several different models to chose from, there are many different charging stations that individuals, businesses and local government can chose to provide convenient electric car charging. 

But in Syracuse New York, a non-profit organization is suing electric car charging station manufacturer Ecotality for $6 million -- and removing 68 Blink charging stations -- after claiming they do not function as promised.

Last year, Synapse Sustainability obtained a $700,000 government grant to buy and install electric car charging stations in Central New York. 

The project, called EV Plug, was set up to provide electric car charging to residents and visitors to Syracuse, tracking usage and billing individual users for the electricity they used. 

But while Synapse Sustainability claims Ecotality had promised its Blink charging stations could handle user tracking and billing, one year after installation, that still hasn’t happened. 

Ecotality disputes Synapse’s statements on the matter. 

ECOtality Blink DC fast charger plugged in

ECOtality Blink DC fast charger plugged in

“Ecotality stands behind its product and denies that it made any false representations,” the company said in an email to Syracuse.com

The dispute has left Synapse out of pocket and seeking compensation, both for the cost of removing the disputed charging stations and the cost of installing replacement units from rival charging station manufacturer ChargePoint. 

Nick-named “On The Blink” by many electric car drivers, Ecotality’s Blink charging network has received lost of criticism from Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt drivers alike, while some Internet forums have a whole sub-section dedicated to the company’s troublesome charging stations. 

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Comments (9)
  1. How bad must the relationship have been that they pulled out the BLINK chargers. They must have concluded that BLINK would never get this stuff working.
     
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  2. Maybe they are crooks?
     
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  3. I have had my Blink residential charging station for over a year and only have positive things to say about Blink.
     
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  4. The Blink residential units are hit and miss. With the latest firmware updates released this spring, they seem to be mostly reliable now for most people. Wifi sucks on them, though - better to hardware it or use a powerline adapter or a separate wifi bridge for networking

    The Blink commercial units seem to be much worse. There are frequent reports where you might only have 1-2 functional L2 stations out of 5-6 units. The DC/QC station which has just started getting public use appears to be similar in reliability - it has 2 QC plugs (only one will charge at a time), but often one plug stops working.

    Their main competition in the commercial space Coulomb, appears to be much more reliable in comparison.
     
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  5. Failing stations and too-high hourly pricing will make the rollout of "infrastructure" cause some sour tastes to EV owners. Who will want to be paying above-gasoline costs per mile to charge publicly? These guys want to charge $2.00/hour for L2 charging because they are profit-minded. This places costs per mile nearly double of gasoline. Are "greenies" really that dumb to fall for those extortional numbers?
     
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  6. Thank goodness for Chargepoint! they had stations installed long before Blink and seem to be much more reliable. I hope that the EV Project funds switch over to Chargepoint so that we can have the hundreds of planned DC fast chargers.
     
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  7. As the Communications Manager for ECOtality, I was disappointed that we were not contacted for comment on this article. ECOtality clearly delivered a product that met the specifications of the agreement with Synapse. In addition, ECOtality fulfilled its requirements under the terms of the contract and stands behind its product and performance. The company denies that it made any false representations, believes these allegations to be unfounded and will defend its position vigorously. your comment.
     
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  8. i have only experienced a few hiccups with Blink stations and in no case did it create a problem since there were multiple stations and i simply chose another one. and Ecotality has been slow to respond to broken stations, L3 units, etc. but to pull them out and start over is not what i would consider to be the best course of action. an effective dialogue between the entities needs to resolve this. having Chargepoint bolster the current network is a good idea (we have both along with several others!) and competition may help improve Ecotality's response time
     
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  9. Got a big surprise from Blink this week. They are now charging for time you are plugged in to the stations even if you are not charging your car. This makes using the charging stations a real pain and almost unusable in some situations. Even more concerning is if they are going to pull this stunt now when it really counts to get new users to buy electric cars, what stunt will they pull in the future when they have more market share...
     
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