Tesla Supercharger network expansion may have slowed in the UK due to a legal battle against a rival energy provider, Ecotricity. Tesla’s Supercharger stations provide Tesla owners with free charges so they can make the most of their drives. Just like gas stations, location is important. If a station is too far off the main thoroughfare, accessing it isn’t a bonus. It’s a hindrance. To get the best real estate for its Superchargers in the UK, Tesla had partnered with another EV charging station provider, Ecotricity.
The deal, allegedly, was that Ecotricity was going to use its business relationships and experience to help Tesla set up Superchargers in service stations along UK highways. Then things went south. Tesla reportedly sent an email to Ecotricity by mistake that changed it all. The email detailed its plot to encourage locations to break ties with Ecotricity in favor of Tesla. After that, Ecotricity took legal action, filing a High Court injunction against Tesla.
Ecotricity’s owner, Dale Vince, accused Tesla of going behind his back, trying to cut him out of the deals. Elon Musk paints the ordeal in a different light. “Initially when we tried working with him he started making all sorts of outrageous demands, so we thought, ‘Well, OK, we’ll just not work with you’ – and then he sued us.”
The story of backroom dealing sounds like something out of TV drama, but the dust kicked up has already fallen. Tesla and Ecotricity have reached a settlement of undisclosed terms. It’s unclear what the agreement entails, but Tesla and Ecotricity are continuing to open new EV charging stations throughout the UK.