Not to state the obvious, but an echo is about all that's left for the plug-in hybrid vehicle system maker of the same name. Echo Automotive, which was led by the engineering team of the defunct Bright Automotive, has run out of cash. Echo said in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing last month that it couldn't pay its debts and is "exploring options to restructure its business." The stock still trades Over the Counter (OTC), but it is worthless. The filing flat-out says, "the Company does not have adequate liquidity to repay any outstanding obligations."

Echo had been promoting its bolt-on plug-in hybrid kits for vans and trucks and said the could boost the fuel economy of a vehicle like the Chevrolet Express by about 50 percent. That meant as much as $45,000 in refueling savings that the aftermarket kit provided over the 10-year life of a typical utility vehicle.

Echo was last heard from in these parts when it said it added General Motors' GM 2500 and 3500 vans to the list of vehicle lines compatible with the plug-in hybrid system earlier this year. The plan had been to start production during the first quarter of 2015. Last year, the company said it added plug-in electric vehicle expert Chelsea Sexton and two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Arie Luyendyk to its seven-member advisory board.

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