The State of Georgia will not let Rivian sell its electric vehicles directly to its customers within the state. There were initially two bills moving through the legislature to solve this problem, but neither bill passed.
Currently, the auto dealer franchise law in several states prohibits direct-to-consumer sales of cars, including EVs. That includes Georgia. Such law prevents new EV companies from selling directly to consumers in Georgia and limits Georgians’ EV options.
The two bills were Georgia House Bill 460, in which Rivian — along with Lucid, Lordstown Motors, and a few others — sent a coalition letter of support to the Georgia Legislature in February 2021.
The other bill is Senate Bill 398, which was filed this year to allow Rivian and other companies to sell vehicles directly within the state. It would allow the car manufacturers that don’t already have sales agreements with traditional car dealerships to sell them to customers directly.
The Atlanta Business Chronicle noted that SB 398 had twelve sponsors coming from both party lines. However, the bill was assigned to the Senate Committee of Economic Development and Tourism, where it never received a committee vote. The bill will not even be considered again until next year.
James Chen, Rivian’s vice president of public policy, shared a few thoughts about this with me over the phone and emphasized Rivian’s commitment to working with the state’s policymakers in promoting both consumer choice and EV technology.
“While disappointed that the direct sales bill did not advance, Rivian remains committed to working with Georgia policymakers to promote consumer choice and electric vehicle technology as we continue our investment in the state. Allowing Georgians the right to decide for themselves how they purchase an electric vehicle simply makes sense.”
Considering that Rivian is investing in Georgia’s economy, it would make sense for the state to allow its residents to buy directly from Rivian. The new $5 billion factory is east of Atlanta and will produce up to 400,000 EVs annually, which is more than double its factory in Illinois. The plant will employ 7,500 workers, bringing much-needed jobs to the area.
Here’s more from James Chen on the kind of anti–consumer, anti-EV laws on the books in several states and the battles to improve the consumer environment in those places: