Tesla is suing Autobahn Tank & Rast, which is seeking to expand its monopoly to install charging stations along autobahns in Germany. The lifting of the monopoly will give various providers access to place charging stations along the autobahns, which will encourage healthy competition.
In Germany, Autobahn Tank & Rast has a monopoly on the installation of gas stations and rest areas on the autobahns. This prevents the growth of healthy competition and prevents equal access to different providers for consumers. In Germany, Tank & Rast has 95 percent of the concessions to operate gas stations, hotels, and restaurants on the motorways. This monopoly can now be expanded to include electric vehicle charging stations due to last year's permit.
However, Tesla and the Dutch company Fastned are resisting the growth of the monopoly. In the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf, they appealed last year's decision of the Federal Office for Combating Cartels. According to Tagesspiegel Background, the trial will take place on April 27.
In May 2022, the EU Commission ruled that Tank & Rast is allowed to expand its charging infrastructure at gas stations. However, Tesla and Fastned filed a lawsuit to ensure that the expansion of the infrastructure is carried out “openly and transparently to all interested market participants, and not directly to one party.” In fact, the concession agreements negotiated between the federal government and Tank & Rast in the late 1990s only cover regular gas stations, not charging stations. However, now Autobahn just wants to extend these contracts to charging stations.
The Supreme Regional Court is currently deciding whether such an extension of contracts is legal. The Purchasing Board considered this change to be minor and therefore approved the expansion of Tank & Rast. However, in fact, this is the emergence of a new business area in which other stakeholders deny such an expansion of contracts. Tesla says: “In our opinion, charging and refueling are fundamentally different things. When it comes to charging, there are completely new business models and market participants that have nothing to do with refueling.”
Although Tank & Rast works with EnBW, MER, Ionity, and Eon-Innogy, other companies that are real competitors are still not allowed to locate their charging stations along the autobahns. Thus, consumers are deprived of the opportunity to choose a provider at their own discretion.
© 2023, Eva Fox | Tesmanian. All rights reserved.
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About the Author
Eva Fox joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover breaking news as an automotive journalist. The main topics that she covers are clean energy and electric vehicles. As a journalist, Eva is specialized in Tesla and topics related to the work and development of the company.