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ECOtality Eyes NASDAQ En Route to EV Charging Boom

Jump out of the little pond and take its chances with the big fish — that’s what ECOtality (s ETLY) aims to do by listing its common stock on the Nasdaq Capital Market (previously called the SmallCap Market). ECOtality, which is the parent company of electric vehicle infrastructure provider eTec, announced today that it has applied to list its stock on the tier of NASDAQ that’s meant for companies that need capital to grow their business.

Currently, ECOtality trades on what’s called the Over-the-Counter Bulletin Board, or OTCBB — an exchange often used by relatively small and risky companies because it does not have the listing requirements of the Nasdaq or New York Stock Exchange. For ECOtality, switching over to the Nasdaq Capital Market would mark a new phase for the company — opening it to a larger pool of potential investors and suggesting growing confidence in its bet on the still-nascent electric vehicle market.

Founded in 1999, Scottsdale, Ariz.-based ECOtality has subsidiaries working across the spectrum of tech for cleaner transportation, from fuel cells to solar modules. But eTec, which ECOtality acquired in November 2007, represents the firm’s highest-profile venture. Last summer, eTec snagged a nearly $100 million government grant (along with several partners) to deploy more than 10,000 charging stations, and has become a poster child of sorts for the Obama Administration’s commitment to electric vehicles.

“With rapidly increasing operations in the United States and increased activity in the international markets,” ECOtality President and CEO Jonathan Read commented in a statement today, the company’s management “believes now is the time to move to a larger exchange. As we move forward with the deployment of EV infrastructure on a global scale,” the higher visibility offered by Nasdaq trading will allow ECOtality to “attract additional investors and improve shareholder value,” Read said.

Much of eTec’s work over the years has taken place behind the scenes on alt-fuel vehicle projects — providing battery and vehicle performance testing, life cycle cost estimates and comparisons, as well as management and maintenance services for electric fleets. (Its smart fast-charging system was also deployed, as Green Car Congress has noted, for General Motors’ (s GM) EV-1 program and Chrysler’s EPIC minivan and Ford’s electric Ranger programs.) If ECOtality’s Nasdaq listing application wins approval, some of that work could come closer to the foreground for many investors.

Related GigaOM Pro research (subscription required):

What Electric Car Charging Can Learn from the Broadband Buildout

In 2010, EVs Will Need More Than Just an Electric Motor

California Rules Show Opportunities in EV Charging