They Blinked Out

Ecotality, parent of the Blink Network of roadside charging points (plus home EVSEs), filed blfor bankruptcy.  See Ya!

Blink is a failure, deserves to “die,” and I will neither regret it nor apologize for them.  On a purely physical level, Blink selected inferior tolerances, resins, or both for their electrical connectors, and effected failures.  Not only did their J1772 plugs approach melting in certain situations, but in some cases this affected the socket side in the vehicle.  This, even though Ecotality also owned ETEC Labs, an R&D and testing firm for EVs, charging, and other electrical needs.  Blink also selected displays for their charging points that were more susceptible to exposure, wear, and vandalism.  Apparently ETEC labs wasn’t enough.

On a management and execution level, Blink’s networks were poorly managed, to the point of being illogical.  The public charging points were badly maintained, on top of being unreliable to begin with.  And yet, Blink’s own services had directed EV owners- yes, actively steered them– to sites that were down, and had been down for a while.  (This, despite the fact that device networking is supposed to flag bad units, and signal maintenance crews, in real time.  But no, not even owner reports were enough, apparently.)  Instead of electrons, motorists received apologies.  Meanwhile, the private EVSEs being installed in owners’ garages and driveways were little better.  Software bugs seemed to be fixed after updates, but were not durable regardless of software version.  Blink also had a bizzare “plan” like a cell phone, intended to steer motorists to roadside Blinks as well.  Unreliable Blinks, that is.  I can’t truly and indisputably condemn their advertizing claims… let’s just say their ads are a bit skewed.

EV haters will point and scoff, sure.  A few will implicate EVs as a whole.  Note, however, that public EVSEs from NRG (eVgo), SemaConnect, AeroVironment, ChargePoint, Fuji, etc. seem to be holding up just fine, at least for outdoor, unattended equipment.  Nope, it’s pretty much Blink.  (eVgo also has member “plans;” we’ll see how that works for them, too.)

Let this be notice: the advance of EVs, and electrification as a whole, will not be stopped by the few inept and lazy.  If nothing else, materials science is a mature field, with plenty of expertise to be found.  Social networking such as PlugShare reporting is policing sites as best it can.  Blink’s infrastructure will be bought by someone else, hopefully someone competent.

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