Image Credit: Tesla Motors

Is Tesla Motors A “Bully”? Ecotricity Accuses Tesla Of Charging Station Site Bullying

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teslalogoCan you really call any activity that happens in the world of business “bullying”? I’m not too convinced that’s ever the right term — after all, business is business, as the phrase goes. And apparently Tesla Motors is all about business — at least according to Ecotricity’s founder Dale Vince.

The Ecotricity head recently made the comment that the very well-regarded EV manufacturer was “bullying” the green energy provider. Apparently, the issue is that it is attempting to take over some of the best-placed EV charging sites in Ecotricity’s UK motorway charging network.

The current situation apparently stems from a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) that was signed between Tesla and Ecotricity about three months ago when the two entered into a partnership intended to help Tesla build its own “Supercharger” network in the UK.

The Guardian provides more:

But Ecotricity’s founder, Dale Vince, said he had received on Sunday a “very dark”, “shocking” and “brutal” email from Tesla informing his company of Tesla’s intent to take over several of its sites.

An Ecotricity spokesman claimed Tesla was negotiating with a unnamed company, asking it to break off exclusivity contracts signed with Ecotricity and sign for Tesla instead. He said that Tesla had come in to contact with the company through its NDA with Ecotricity. Ecotricity has sought an injunction at the high court to stop Tesla using information gleaned from the two company’s partnership under the NDA.

“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,” Vince stated.

A spokesperson for Tesla recently revealed that, yes, the company had received the injunction, and would subsequently “respond accordingly.” Sounds ominous. Though, I guess that’s the way that lawyers for cash-loaded corporations always sound.

While the spokesperson didn’t confirm the NDA relationship with Ecotricity (legal reasons), he or she did note: “we do work with partners around the world as needed.”

Hard to say what the exacts of the situation are, but as noted above, business is business — a reality that would be worth remembering for those in the renewable energy industries, as much as for any others. Nonetheless, if the accusations are true, violating an NDA isn’t legal. We’ll have to see how this one turns out.

Regarding Tesla’s UK Supercharger network, the first part of it is currently set to open right around the same time as the launch of the right-hand drive version of the Model S.

Given the almost impressively(?) low EV sales in the UK to date, it’ll be interesting to see how the Model S does. I’d venture a guess that it will do fairly well — partly due to its own qualities, and partly due to the fact that the market as a whole is finally beginning to pick up.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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