British firm takes court action against Musk's Tesla


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The Independent Online

Britain's oldest green energy company, Ecotricity, has launched legal action against Elon Musk's Tesla after accusing the billionaire's electric car firm of "old world" business dealings and a "smash and grab raid" on its intellectual property.

Ecotricity, which has built an "Electric Highway" network of car charging posts, claims the American company used commercially sensitive information on installing charging stations to bypass Ecotricity and approach landlords to create its own network. It has brought an interim High Court injunction against Tesla.

The US company has a raft of highways in America dotted with charging stations that can power a car for 150 miles after a 20-minute plug-in.

Tesla opened its first UK dealership in October in the Westfield London shopping centre, Shepherds Bush, and is poised to deliver orders for its new Model S electric cars in the next two weeks.

Ecotricity showed Tesla "the best locations, introduced them to our landlords and partners and started building the first two chargers for them," said Ecotricity's founder, Dale Vince, who also described a "shocking and brutal" email from Tesla setting out plans for its own charging network. He said: "It was very dark. Tesla appears to have liked what they have seen in our Electric Highway. 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."

A Tesla spokesman declined to comment on the legal case but said: "Our priority is to build a network of superchargers... they will be deployed."