Do government policies regarding gas stations also apply to Tesla charging stations? That is the question being considered by a Düsseldorf court as Tesla sues Tank & Rast, the largest gas station operator in Germany.

Tank & Rast has been granted concessions by the German government to operate nearly all of the gas stations along Germany’s autobahns (freeways). Although the formerly state-owned company was privatized in 1998, it still maintains close ties to the German government, which has allowed it to maintain its near-monopoly position.

The German government’s preferential treatment of Tank & Rast has extended to electric car charging stations. Tank & Rast only allows a handful of companies, including EnBW, MER, and Ionity, to operate charging stations on its premises.

Tesla is challenging this monopoly in court. It’s arguing that there’s no reason for Tank & Rast’s monopoly on gas stations to extend to charging stations, as they are different businesses. Tesla is also maintaining that Tank & Rast’s monopoly gives the company too much power to decide when and where to deploy charging stations.

This court case is particularly notable in light of the positive reviews that German auto experts are giving to Tesla models. The ADAC—Germany’s largest car club—recently released its latest reliability study. It found that the Tesla Model 3 was the fifth most reliable car in Germany, with only 1.1 breakdowns per 1,000 vehicles in 2020. This makes the Tesla Model 3 almost four times more dependable than some of its competitors.

With Tesla’s German sales up by 272% year-over-year, it is clear that many consumers in Europe’s largest economy agree with the ADAC. To what degree can Tesla continue this trend? Can the superior design of Tesla models sustain Tesla’s sales growth, even if the court upholds the ban on Tesla charging stations?

The ruling has yet to be decided, so be sure to stay tuned.