Renewable energy company ECOtality has added yet another company to its clean tech portfolio.
Its latest acquisition is Minit-Charger, a maker of rapid charge battery technology for lift trucks and material handling systems that was a subsidiary of Edison International and that had revenue of $5.16 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, 2007. Its customers include Home Depot, Ford, Toyota, Costco and General Mills.
The deal, worth $3 million in cash and stock, is expected to close within the next seven days. ECOtality previously acquired Electric Transportation Engineering Corp. (eTec), Innergy Power Corp. and Fuel Cell Store. After the transaction, Minit-Charger will be merged into eTec, which produces the eTec SuperCharge line of fast battery chargers that work with airport ground support equipment.
Jonathan Read, CEO of ECOtality, which is based in Scottsdale, Ariz., says by combining Minit-Charger and eTec, his company hopes to expand the footprint of where fast charging technology can be used. In particular, many in the industry are anticipating the release by General Motors of its Volt extended-range electric concept car.
While the technology isn't yet suitable for use at home, Read envisions creating charging stations where electric vehicle owners could “fuel” up quickly. The depots would be located in places such as a mall where owners could charge while shopping or, potentially, in a corporate office park, where a hybrid could be juiced up at closing time. Read reasons that the charging time is still too long for owners to wait at a regular gas station. The price for this service? Still not finalized, but the perceived value likely would be $15 to $20 for 100 miles of extra mileage, Read says.