Tesla loses ‘greenest’ claim battle with Ecotricity, Good Energy challenges ruling

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has lost a legal battle against power provider Ecotricity. Tesla’s owner Elon Musk lodged a complaint with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about Ecotricity claiming […]

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By Priyanka Shrestha

Electric car manufacturer Tesla has lost a legal battle against power provider Ecotricity.

Tesla’s owner Elon Musk lodged a complaint with the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) about Ecotricity claiming it supplies “Britain’s greenest energy” and “greenest electricity” on its website.

However the ASA rejected the complaint and ruled Ecotricity’s claims were justified.

The watchdog said the green energy provider submitted evidence of the CO2 emissions for fossil fuels and renewables, which showed coal had the highest emissions and onshore wind had one of the lowest.

It added: “Ecotricity supplied the FMD [Fuel Mix Disclosure] for their electricity and that of their only commercial competitor who also provided electricity which came from 100% renewable sources.

“They had compared the CO2 emissions from the lifecycle of both which showed that Ecotricity’s was 10.7gCO2/kWh compared to that of their competitor at 18.2gCO2/kWh. Therefore, they believed they had substantiated their claim of ‘greenest electricity’.”

The ASA went on to say Ecotricity said it was the only supplier to also provide “green gas”, which is composed of mostly natural gas with a small percentage of sugar beet derived gas.

The complaint follows a legal dispute between the two companies over building a network of charging points in the UK. The case was eventually resolved out of court and the terms of the settlement were not disclosed.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Ecotricity Founder Dale Vince said Tesla’s complaints “have never made any sense to us”.

He added: “Clearly they are unhappy with the way our recent legal proceedings ended, where we defended our Electric Highway from them but our claims to provide the greenest electricity in Britain are very well documented and founded so we were surprised they chose to pursue this – it’s been a bit of a waste of everybody’s time.  Though of course we are pleased that the ASA have confirmed the position.”

Although Tesla doesn’t supply energy, it is spending billions of dollars on a giant battery factory which is expected to open in the US next year.

A spokesperson from the company said: “Tesla and Ecotricity resolved their differences a long time ago and we wish them the best.”

Another UK green electricity supplier Good Energy announced it will challenge the ASA ruling.

Managing Director David Brooks added: “We’re surprised and disappointed by this ruling and intend to challenge it. The ASA appears to have based its decision purely on data provided by Ecotricity without considering whether that data represents an objective view. Obviously, the criteria Ecotricity has chosen to measure itself against other companies has been selected to suit Ecotricity. We don’t think the ASA has considered what it calls ‘suitable comparative data’ before reaching its conclusions.

“Since we started over 15 years ago, Good Energy has only ever provided 100% renewable electricity. We’re the only company which has never included fossil fuels in our fuel mix.”