Tesla Supercharger UK

Ecotricity, Tesla Motors, End Stalemate on UK EV Charging Infrastructure in Out-of-Court Settlement

More than a year ago, we told you about what we assumed would be the UK’s first Tesla Supercharger site, located at the South Mimms M25 Motorway services on the outskirts of London. Located adjacent to three existing electric car charging stations that formed part of utility company Ecotricity’s Electric Highway, the pair of Superchargers seemed to be perfectly placed, complementing the existing charging infrastructure in a prominent location at one of the UK’s busiest freeway rest stops.

iMiEV rapid charging on an ecotricity electric highway charger

Ecotricity and Tesla are now happy to work side by side, it seems.

At the time, we surmised, given the speed at which Supercharger locations had been commissioned elsewhere in the world, that we’d be seeing the site go live in a matter of weeks or even days. But due to a nasty dispute between Ecotricity and Tesla Motors over public electric car charging infrastructure, the units have set dormant for more than a year, with the battle itself heading to the High Courts of Justice in London.

The last we heard of the dispute was back in March, when the two firms, still knee-deep in that particular battle, exchanged heated words with each other through carefully-considered press releases and public statements. But after more than a year of legal wrangling, the two firms have apparently come to an amicable agreement about the future of plug-in charging infrastructure in the UK.

We’re not going to go into the sordid details of the original dispute here, since it seems a little pointless now that everything appears okay between the two firms (although the links above do a pretty good job of detailing what went on). Sufficed to say, both Ecotricity and Tesla had filed cases against each other.

The first hint of the storm calming came when both Tesla and Ecotricity made their own independent press releases concerning the expansion of their respective electric car charging stations across the UK. While Ecotricity’s promised its Electric Highway network — the largest free-to-use rapid charging network in the UK and the only one to serve all of the UK’s major motorway service station chains —  was about to undergo some significant improvements and dramatic expansion, Tesla’s focuses on the company offering its Supercharger stations at UK motorway rest stops for the first time.

Noticeably, neither company mention the other in their press releases , nor do they appear to be willing to discuss the terms of the agreement made between the two firms. We’d assume that the two companies have agreed to work collaboratively for the common good.

Sources close to both companies confirm that an out-of-court settlement has been made, the details of which are bound by a non-disclosure clause as part of the settlement. Rumors speculating that Tesla has purchased the Electric Highway from Ecotricity have also been fiercely denied.

Brits should soon see these pop up at major UK service stations along busy motorways.

Brits should soon see these pop up at major UK service stations along busy motorways.

Here at Transport Evolved, we’re glad to see the two most important charging networks the UK has working together to ensure that electric car owners don’t suffer a lack of charging infrastructure due to a purchase decision they made. While we can’t speculate what the new chapter between the two firms will mean in the long-term, we’re eager to see what the confidential agreement will do to nationwide charging provision moving forward.


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  • Roger Atkins

    “We’d assume that the two companies have agreed to work collaboratively for the common good” – hopefully we all share that thought Nikki as it was a most unhelpful state of affairs all round

  • Jonathan Tracey

    I am surprised it took this long to resolve this, not really sure what it was all about. Given tesla chargers only work with Tesla cars I am not sure why it would cause any issues for Ecotricity. Unless they were worried about the eventual move to paid charging, and how it would look if Tesla continued to offer free charging at the same sites.

    • D. Harrower

      Perhaps Ecotricity saw the writing on the wall and surmised that other automakers would eventually be adopting Tesla’s superior charging standard, which would leave all of Ecotricity’s expensive equipment to rot.

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