Tesla faces Ecotricity lawsuit over Charging Stations Implementation

Article by Christian A., on March 28, 2015

A lawsuit was filed in London against Tesla Motors related to a claim that it interfered with a plan by a competitor to have electric-car chargers at rest stops at highways in the UK. Last Wednesday, Judge Vivien Rose demanded that Tesla should locate and offer up documents on internal talks with other companies on establishing its own charger network for it electric cars.

In the UK, Tesla’s cars have a starting price of 50,000 pounds ($74,450). According to Ecotricity Group, Tesla entered negotiations with companies such as Tesco after it had already begun talks. Judge Rose said that it appears that in October 2014, there were meetings with motorway service providers.

This lawsuit is not surprising considering that there has been a conflict between automakers and charging network providers who want a share of growing market for electric vehicles and their infrastructure.

Tesla considers the market in Europe to be vital to its growth as it pours billions into the biggest battery plant in the world. Ecotricity further claims that Tesla utilized confidential information and attempted to persuade highway rest stop companies like Welcome Break Group to violate agreements with Ecotricity for exclusive charging points in 2014 as Tesla presented the Model S in the UK.

Spokesman Ricardo Reyes said that Tesla won orders against Ecotricity that meant it was required to produce financial records, strategy documents and evidence of any loss. He added that the hearing was focused on the antitrust claim against Ecotricity and that it has won the “vast majority of the matters before the court.”

Tesla has filed a countersuit against Ecotricity and alleges that it has abused its dominant position as a supplier. In addition, Tesla denied in court documents “that it misused any confidential information Ecotricity gave it or that it tried to induce companies to break contracts with Ecotricity.”

Judge Rose decided not to compel Tesla to produce document that had specific search terms and initials that Ecotricity had wanted. Tesla also doesn’t have to show records of calls with Welcome Break.

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