Misdirected email prompts Ecotricity to take US rivals to court

7:00pm Wednesday 18th June 2014

By Will Mata

A MISDIRECTED email has sparked a major feud between green energy company Ecotricity and US electric car manufacturer Tesla, with the pair set to go to court.

Stroud-based Ecotricity is the UK’s largest green energy provider and allows electric car drivers to re-charge their vehicles batteries through its electric highway network. Tesla, owned by US billionaire Elon Musk, has recently launched a new luxury saloon car in Britain and is in the process of creating its own “super-chargers” which will allow users to re-charge car batteries in slightly over 30 minutes.

Until recently, discussions were ongoing about the possibility of installing the Tesla “super-chargers” at Ecotricity sites, which number more than 150. However, Ecotricity says it received an email mistakenly sent on Sunday, May 18, which has shattered the relationship between the two sides.

According to Ecotricity, the rogue email was sent by Greg Callman, head of Tesla “super-charger” development, and allegedly described how the firm was encouraging service stations to sever all ties and contracts with the pioneering wind energy company. Ecotricity founder Dale Vince (pictured) is understood to be angry with what he said appeared to be suggestions of covert approaches to motorway service stations.

In an interview with a national newspaper, Mr Vince said this approach would be in breach of a non-disclosure agreement the two companies had signed, under which Tesla had given confidential information.

The green tycoon branded the email was a “declaration of war”.

Mr Vince initially thought the email was a brazen declaration of Tesla’s plans but later realised beyond doubt the message should only have been sent within the company.

He promptly took out a High Court injunction to prevent the US company proceeding with its plans.

The injunction hearing date was originally scheduled to be last week but was delayed and a date has not yet been set. Tesla declined to comment and Ecotricity did not wish to add anything else.


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