In response to the increasing demand for electric vehicle (EV) chargers in Europe, Tesla has partnered with Fastned, a Dutch EV charging company, to sue Tank and Rast, the German gas station giant. Tank and Rast currently operate 95% of the gas station/rest stops along the German Autobahn, giving it a potential monopoly on charging stations along this major route. Tesla and Fastned are challenging Tank and Rast’s recent permit to build EV chargers at their locations, arguing that it would give the gas station operator a complete monopoly on charging along the Autobahn, thereby limiting consumer choice.
The lawsuit argues that Tesla and Fastned should be granted the right to place their chargers at Tank and Rast locations as well, which would increase competition and benefit consumers. The case is being held at the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, but it could potentially be appealed to higher courts in Germany or even to the European Court of Justice.
Interestingly, until recently, Tank and Rast had no interest in EV charging and lacked chargers at most of its locations. It only received a minimal number of chargers through partnerships with regional charging operators and the European operator Ionity.
The outcome of this lawsuit will have significant implications for Tesla’s operations in Germany and its charging plans for the rest of the continent. It could also have broader implications for competition in the EV charging industry in Europe, making charging at service areas fairer, more open, and cheaper.