Tesla is currently embroiled in a legal battle with Tank & Rast, one of the largest gas station operators in Germany. The dispute concerns the right of Tesla to install its own electric vehicle charging stations along the Autobahn. Tank & Rast has a virtual monopoly on rest stops along the Autobahn, including their filling stations. The company, which was formerly state-owned and privatized in 1998, has a close relationship with the German government, allowing it to retain its near monopoly status.
Tesla has argued that Tank & Rast’s near monopoly on gas stations should not extend to electric vehicle charging stations. However, the company has asserted that it has complete control over the deployment and location of charging stations on its properties. Currently, Tank & Rast has only allowed a handful of companies, including EnBW, MER, Ionity, and Eon-Innogy, to operate charging stations at their rest stops. The legal dispute between Tesla and Tank & Rast has far-reaching implications, as it could set a precedent for the deployment of EV charging infrastructure across Germany and the wider European market. The case highlights the tension between established fossil fuel infrastructure and emerging EV technology, as well as the challenges faced by new entrants seeking to disrupt the status quo.
Tesla and Dutch charging station company, Fastned, are suing Tank & Rast, a major gas station operator in Germany, to challenge its monopoly over charging stations along the Autobahn. Tesla and Fastned argue that Tank & Rast’s monopoly over gas stations should not extend to charging stations as they are two separate businesses. Tank & Rast retains complete control over the locations and deployment of charging stations on its rest stops and has only allowed a few companies, such as EnBW, MER, Ionity, and Eon-Innogy, to operate charging stations on its properties.
Tesla and Fastned believe this monopoly gives Tank & Rast too much power to decide where and if a specific location along the highways will get a charging station. While a ruling is not expected to be achieved immediately, negotiations are expected to begin. The lawsuit aims to challenge Tank & Rast’s monopoly on charging stations along the Autobahn and enable Tesla and Fastned to deploy their own charging stations in Germany. Germany’s Focus reports (translated from German), “Starting Thursday, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court will be hearing whether the federal government will extend the Tank & Rast monopoly at motorway service stations to include fast charging.”
The ruling on Tank and Rast’s monopoly over charging stations along the German Autobahn, which is expected to come after a lengthy court battle, will likely be challenged by the losing party. The case is currently being held at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, but if appealed, it could be elevated to a higher German court or even the European Court of Justice, an international court run by the European Union. The irony of the case is that Tank and Rast only recently became interested in EV charging, and until recently, their locations lacked any chargers. They only received a few chargers through partnerships with regional charging operators and Ionity, a European operator.
The decision in this case could be significant for Tesla’s operations in Germany and their charging plans for the rest of the continent, as well as for Tank and Rast’s monopoly on the popular Autobahn. Many will be watching this court battle closely, as Europe’s largest car market is at stake, and the outcome could potentially provide Tank and Rast with a serious competitor or allow them to maintain their monopoly. The outcome of this court battle could also set a precedent for other countries and companies regarding the deployment of EV charging stations along major highways.