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Tesla in legal wrangle over roll out of supercharger network

By raccars Published

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US electric luxury car-maker, Tesla, is in dispute with green power company, Ecotricity, over a deal to develop its network of charging stations in the UK. Ecotricity has claimed that Tesla used bullying tactics in trying to take over some key charging stations on Ecotricity’s network. Tesla is currently developing its supercharger network, as it prepares to launch a right-hand drive version of its Model S car in the UK. Ecotricity had signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) with Tesla, as the companies considered working together to build Tesla’s charging network. Now, however, Ecotricity has accused Tesla of conducting a 'smash and grab' campaign to take over six of Ecotricity’s key charging sites.

Dale Vince, Ecotricity’s founder, has released a statement saying that he has received what he describes as a ‘brutal, shocking and very dark’ email from Tesla, informing him of the US company’s intention to take over Ecotricity’s charging sites. A spokesman from Ecotricity went on to claim that Tesla was in negotiations with a third company, attempting to persuade that company to end the contracts it has signed with Ecotricity and, instead, sign agreements with Tesla. The spokesman added that Tesla had been introduced to the company via its dealings with Ecotricity. The company has now sought a high court injunction, to prevent Tesla from using information gained during the company’s NDA deal.

Dale Vince’s strongly worded statement said:"We are shocked and disappointed that a company like Tesla, with its aura of new world technology and challenger brand status, could behave in such an old world way; shame on them and shame on Elon Musk." A spokesman from Tesla confirmed that they had received the injunction but would not comment on the case.

Tesla is developing its supercharger network across the UK to support its intention of having its cars be able to drive from one end of the country to the other, without needing overnight charging. The Tesla Model S can already drive up to 300 miles on a single charge, greatly reducing the problem of ‘range anxiety’ which has prevented the wider adoption of electric cars. Tesla founder Elon Musk has said that the charging network would be solar powered and the first supercharging station is due to open at South Mimms services in the next few months, with others planned for the M20, M25, M4 and M1. The stations can recharge the Tesla’s batteries in just 30 minutes. Last year Musk was made electric vehicle tsar to the coalition government in the UK.

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