Published on September 18th, 2013 | by Important Media Cross-Post


Multi-Million Dollar Lobbying Kept Tesla Motors Out Of Texas

September 18th, 2013 by  

Originally published on Gas2.
By Christopher DeMorro.


While Elon Musk and Tesla Motors has seemingly rolled from one easy victory to the next, there is one place the electric automaker was soundly trumped; Texas. Despite winning legislation in most other states, Tesla was sent packing when both bills it sponsored failed to even come up to vote. It’s the legacy of a deceased dealer lobbyist and the familiar story of money in politics.

Dealer lobbyist Gene Fondren was key in helping draft the tightest dealership protection laws in America. Despite Elon Musk making $7,500 in campaign donations and spending between $255,000 and $565,000 on lobbying efforts, the car dealer lobby donated $2.5 million to election campaigns, and spent another $750,000 on lobbying. This deluge of money helped keep the door closed on Tesla’s efforts to sell the Model S in Texas.

The law prevents Tesla store representatives from taking would-be buyers on a test drive, discussing price points, or even directing buyers to the company website. Those who do buy a Tesla Model S must have it shipped via third-party services into Texas on trucks with no Tesla decals. It’s a wonder Texas even lets the Model S be registered, though this is also a state that has been praying for rain since a devastating drought took hold. In case you’re wondering, it isn’t working.

Texas is playing favorites with the dealer association, and Tesla’s efforts to sell cars directly to customers obviously has dealer lobbies running scared. Still, it’s ironic that a state whose governor declared it “open for business” seems to be going out of its way to keep a cutting-edge automaker from doing business, even though other electric automakers have found Texas to be plenty welcoming. Priorities, priorities.

With the establishment acting so scared, it means Elon Musk must be doing something right.

Source: The Dallas Observer 

Check out our new 93-page EV report, based on over 2,000 surveys collected from EV drivers in 49 of 50 US states, 26 European countries, and 9 Canadian provinces.

Tags: , , , , ,

About the Author

-- CleanTechnica is one of 18 blogs in the Important Media blog network. With a bit of overlap in coverage, we sometimes repost some of the great content published by our sister sites.

  • NRG4All

    Will Rogers said it decades ago, “We have the best politicians money can buy”.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    I hear some people say Elon should have bought more politicians and worked the system the way it is always done in Texas. However would it be financially worth it? He is building his International Space Port there. He may be playing his cards correctly and showing some humility. Lose a little here with Tesla, win big with SpaceX later. Let some time pass and the dust settle so all can see what happened, and then kindly ask and watch the legislators do what is right…

    Every big proud Texan will be basking in the glory of SpaceX and will personally make it their god given mission in life to make Tesla welcome.

  • Ross

    Sales of the Tesla in Texas will probably still be good.

  • Shiggity

    Yeah and Elon will still have superchargers and Tesla’s driving through the state. Texas is only losing money by doing this. It just goes to show you that money buys laws in this country and that said money is almost always a pure waste.

    I can’t wait for Musk to make a fool out of Rick Perry, not that he needed much help.

Back to Top ↑