Ecotricity Accuse Tesla of ‘Smash and Grab’ UK Charging Infrastructure Raid

UK based green utility company and electric car charging infrastructure provider Ecotricity has filed court papers against Californian automaker Tesla Motors in a disagreement over public charging infrastructure.

Dale Vince, founder of utility company and electric car charging network Ecotricity, is accusing Tesla of "Smash and Grab" tactics.

Dale Vince, founder of utility company and electric car charging network Ecotricity, is accusing Tesla of “Smash and Grab” tactics.

As The Evening Standard detailed earlier today, Ecotricity has brought an interim High Court injunction against Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] for what it calls a “smash and grab raid” on its intellectual property concerning nationwide public charging stations.

The company behind the largest public rapid charging network in the UK with more than 100 public DC and AC quick charging stations deployed along motorways and in parking lots of stores like IKEA, Ecotricity says it was approached by Tesla many months ago when the electric automaker was planning its Tesla Model S entry into the UK market to help it plan and build its UK Supercharger network.

But after introducing Tesla to various motorway service companies, Ecotricity says Tesla went behind its back and tried to cut it out of any deals.

“After signing a mutual Non-Disclosure Agreement, Ecotricity helped to design Tesla’s network, showed them the best locations, introduced them to our landlords and partners, and started building the first two chargers for them ready for the launch when Elon comes to town, on the 7th of June,” said Ecotricity founder Dale Vince in an official statement earlier today.

“Sunday evening just gone we received from Tesla, very clear threats to undermine Ecotricity and the Electric Highway. This followed a Sunday Times article that day which described Tesla’s plans for what they called an Electric highway and showed a map with four locations on, all of them our locations,” he continued.

Essentially, Ecotricity says, Tesla has broken its confidentially agreements.

Ecotricity isn't happy with the way Tesla has treated it.

Ecotricity isn’t happy with the way it says Tesla has treated it.

“The e-mail itself was shocking and brutal, it set out what Tesla were going to do to Ecotricity this week in talks with Government, our partners and the media. It was very dark,” said Vince. “Tesla appear to have liked what they have seen in our Electric Highway, indeed they told us they had not seen anything like it in all the markets they operate in to date. They liked it so much they appear to have decided to simply take it – this is nothing more than an attempted smash and grab raid.”

Transport Evolved reached out to Tesla Motors for official comment, and were told that while Tesla is aware of the actions being taken by Ecotricity, it cannot discuss pending legal matters any further.

“We are shocked and disappointed that a company like Tesla, with it’s [sic] 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,” Vince concluded.

As always, there are two sides to every story, so with the interim High Court injunction papers now filed at the Chancery Division of the High Court in London, we’ll have to wait until the court return date of 4th June to find out more.

Watch this space.

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