Unique Mobility Inc., maker of advanced propulsion systems and electric motors and generators, is quietly scaling back its investment and activity in three electric vehicle ventures, including one involving former Chrysler Corp. Chairman Lee A. Iacocca.

Unique Mobility says its decision to write off the assets in the three ventures to zero was a “bookkeeping” issue, done so it wouldn't have to “show their individual losses on a quarter-to-quarter basis.”

“We still own them,” says John Gould, Unique's director of investor relations. “We didn't get out of it. We still feel one or more of them can succeed.”

Unique Mobility President and Chief Executive William Rankin says alternative-fuels industry focus has shifted away from pure electric vehicles to hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs). Mr. Rankin claims EV markets have been — and will continue to be — slow to mature, and that Unique Mobility now will focus on investments with near-term profit potential.

The other EV ventures from which Unique Mobility has written off the assets are: Unique Mobility Europa GmbH, Taiwan UQM Electric Co., and Mr. Iacocca's EV Global Motors Co., which makes electrically propelled bicycles. Unique Mobility's writedown in Mr. Iacocca's company totals $1.5 million.

Unique Mobility recently was awarded a $600,000 contract from the U.S. Dept. of Defense for an advanced generator system fitted in a Marine Corps amphibious vehicle. That generator, says Unique Mobility, could be applied to the automotive sector for upcoming 42-volt vehicular power architectures.