Tesla is pleased to assist any consumer interested in the purchase of a Tesla online. On the phone or in person, however, Tesla has concerns in some states with legality, thanks to laws pushed by conventional automobile dealers aimed at keeping Tesla’s direct sales model out of their states. State legislation and dealer lawsuits challenge to what extent Tesla storefront employees can explain cost or oversee the acquisition of an electric automobile.
Fresh news from Washington, one of the most progressive green states, is that the California-based electric-vehicle producer does not have to market on the sly in Washington to evade laws preserving the middle man. Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed a bill recently to allow Tesla to sell direct in showrooms such as they are in Bellevue and Seattle.
Autoblog Green indicates some sliding on this one, though:
Oddly, the bill appears to more-or-less grandfather Tesla into factory-to-customer legality, allowing Tesla to expand its number of showrooms while preventing any other automaker who didn’t have a state dealership license as of January 1, 2014, to do the same. The news isn’t exactly stunning, given the state’s largely pro-green attitude and progressive approach to plug-in vehicle technology. A fast-charging-station network has been built along Interstate 5 in both Washington and Oregon, and, as of late 2013, Washington’s I-5 stations were getting used about twice as much as they were in 2012.
The bill is a significant achievement for Tesla. As you well know by now, the result hasn’t been so peachy in some other states.
Last month, New Jersey said Tesla would have to close its two factory-owned stores in the state. Tesla lost a similar battle in Texas last year, while the company has made some headway in states like Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina and Ohio. Last year, Tesla chief Elon Musk went as far as saying he’d go to the federal government to try to overturn such laws, but that avenue of attack has not yet been attempted.
Check out Automotive New’s great interactive breakdown of Tesla’s state by state challenges with storefront stands. Enjoy the dark humor of a reverse outcome in Arizona, which shows the strength of lobbying by the middleman in lieu of the customer and Tesla.
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