U.S. electric car manufacturer Miles Electric Vehicles filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection early on Tuesday, court documents showed, highlighting the difficulties faced by battery-powered vehicles in gaining wide market acceptance.
Miles Electric Vehicles, founded in 2004 by "green" entrepreneur Miles Rubin, listed estimated assets in the range of $10 million to $50 million, and estimated liabilities of between $50 million and $100 million.
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The company's low-speed all-electric vehicles include ZX40S car and ZX40ST work truck used in off-highway situations such as university campuses and military bases.
Consumers have been slow to gravitate to electric vehicles due to their high cost and concerns about their driving range.
The U.S. Department of Energy in January backed off on President Barack Obama's goal of putting 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, and laid out what experts called a more realistic strategy of promoting advanced-drive vehicles and lowering their cost.
Los Angeles-based Miles Electric Vehicles is among a clutch of California startups including Fisker Automotive and Tesla Motors Inc that are attempting to build emission-free electric cars to appeal to mass-market consumers.
Tesla has put thousands of cars on the road, but Fisker is considering a bankruptcy filing. Fisker's lithium-ion battery maker, A123 Systems Inc, filed for bankruptcy late last year.
General Motors Co and Nissan Motor Co <7201.T> have also invested heavily in electric vehicles, but sales have been slow.
The case is in re Miles Electric Vehicles, Case No. 13-11511, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware.
(Reporting by Sakthi Prasad in Bangalore; Editing by Patrick Graham and Ted Kerr)