Tesla Motors has been ordered by Dame Vivian Rose, Judge of the British High Court, to provide additional documents of any internal meetings or discussions with other companies regarding establishing its own network of chargers in the U.K., says a report from Detroit News. This decision comes a year after Ecotricity Group Ltd., a U.K.-based green utility company and a Tesla competitor, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. firm in a dispute over public charging infrastructure.
Tesla denies all allegations
Ecotricity accused Tesla of what it called “a smash and grab raid” on its intellectual property and claimed the Elon Musk-led company used its confidential information to influence existing highway rest stop owners like Welcome Break Group to break their partnership with Ecotricity in favor of having their own exclusive charging points. The company further alleged that Tesla tried to cut a deal with firms such as Tesco after it had already held meetings with them.
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Following Ecotricity’s allegations, Tesla counter-sued the U.K. utility company, blaming it for being offensive in its dominant position as a supplier in the U.K. market. Further, the California-based EV maker denied misusing any secret information that Ecotricity provided it with or convincing highway stop companies to terminate their contracts with the company.
Growing importance of electric vehicles
The ongoing court case between Tesla and Ecotricity suggests a battle among carmakers and charging network providers to gain considerable share in the growing market of electric vehicles and the facilities that serve them. Tesla, which has been spending billions of dollars on the world’s largest battery factory, is targeting European markets, which it considers essential for its growth.
As of now, there are no comments from Tesla about the legal matters. But according to a report by Detroit News, Judge Rose indicated a need for more evidence to ensure a fair hearing and stated, “There do seem to have been meetings in October, 2014 [with motorway service providers]. Something more is needed to be absolutely sure that there’s nothing more.”
The hearing of the case will continue at a further date after Tesla has submitted the requested documentary evidence to the judge. However, it is worth noting that Judge Rose did not force Tesla to search for the relevant documents pursued by Ecotricity, which also wanted telephone conversation records with Welcome Break.