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Anti-Tesla Bill Backed By North Carolina Car Dealers Is Dead


Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

Tesla owners & supporters gather in Statehouse in Austin to support company [photo: John Griswell]

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Tesla Motors has dodged two big bullets fired its way by New York and North Carolina legislatures and auto dealers.

Last week, the New York State Senate and Assembly adjourned until January without acting on two bills pushed by state auto dealers that would have made it illegal to register a Tesla store in New York state.

And yesterday, the North Carolina legislature backed off on a similar measure banning the sale of cars directly from the factory, the Tesla business model. 

The North Carolina law, also backed by the auto dealers lobby, could have even made it illegal for Tesla to send e-mails to potential customers in the state.

According to the Raleigh News & Observer,  a new version of the North Carolina auto-franchise bill was  approved Tuesday with the anti-Tesla provisions stripped out.

Although the original bill had been passed unanimously by the Senate, House leadership was apparently cool to the proposal.

It may or may nor be a coincidence that the Speaker of the House, Thom Tillis, had taken a Model S for a test drive, courtesy of Tesla lobbyists. So did Governor Pat McCrory.

Although action on the New York bills has been merely postponed till January, the North Carolina anti-Tesla bill is dead.

"No, we're not going to bring that back," said Senator Bill Rabon, according to the News Observer.

Tesla's director of public policy, James Chen, was asked whether the test drives helped to make Tesla's case.

"I'm sure," he replied.

Perhaps Tesla should make Model S test drives for lawmakers the cornerstone of its defense against state auto-dealer associations.

Dealer groups have been lobbying in numerous states, with varying degrees of success,  to shut down Tesla's factory-direct sales model, which  they appear to see as a long-term threat to their existence.

Elon Musk Shows Akio Toyoda 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5

Elon Musk Shows Akio Toyoda 2011 Tesla Roadster Sport 2.5

Enlarge Photo

As anyone who's ever driven a Tesla  understands, the car has a powerful visceral appeal. Put it in the hands of the right person, and good things can happen--fast.

Another example: according to Wired magazine, was Toyota's $50 million investment in Tesla, including the startup company's agreement to  purchase the Toyota factory in Fremont, California, where it now builds the Model S.

That deal came just weeks after Toyota  president Akio Toyoda  stopped by at Tesla CEO Elon Musk's house to have breakfast.

Spying a Tesla Roadster in the driveway, Toyoda, a former race driver, demanded a test drive.

He came back exhilarated--and the rest is history.

How many Model S cars would it take to give every governor and state legislator a test drive over the next year?

David Noland is a Tesla Model S owner and freelance writer who lives north of New York City.

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Comments (19)
  1. Whatever the number, it would be cheap lobbying, and honest too. Which is something you can't always say about lobbying.
     
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  2. So, why is Toyota so resistant to building EV's?

    I am very glad that Tesla's American success story is winning over the protectionists - go Tesla!

    Neil
     
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  3. I suspect Toyota and most other manufacturers oppose EVs for the same reason US car manufacturers opposed quality improvements for so many years - service and spare parts are a major part of their business model.
     
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  4. I agree that the major automakers have a conflict of interest with electric cars. But I believe that the reason that Toyota has been slow to the all-electric party is that they have been very successful with mild hybrid. Most businesses want to continue to do what is working. Toyota is content with Nissan taking the leadership in all electric because it is so expensive and risky. With Ford recently edging their hybrid leadership as well, it may prove a misstep, but I believe we will see stronger all-electric products from Toyota by 2015 when Gen 2 batteries hit the market.
     
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  5. That is why I want Tesla to succeed in selling it's EV's. Automotive dealers make lots of money off their service departments. My sister's boy friend is a service manager and he says that even if you use synthetic oil (I use Amsoil) you should change it every 3000 miles. I told him that I go at least 10,000 on Amsoil and I have over 300,000 miles on my 10 year old Elantra which runs excellently. With a high quality synthetic you can go longer than 3000 miles easily. Also the auto dealers recommend fluid changes big time. Transmission fluid, Power steering fluid. "Blinker fluid" belt changes cosmetic appearance crap ect. A good EV will have much better reliability and will not have all this mandated maintenance to perform. Dealers hate this.
     
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  6. I'd love to see Toyota bring to production their recent concept car, the ME.WE. I dont recall GCR doing a story on it, though you can find info on the Toyota of Europe website. In-wheel motors, extremely practical, and I love the looks (though not every one will). Assuming its priced in the 30-40k range and has about a 200mi range, I'd buy it over the Model S.
     
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  7. @Bryan: Here's our article on that car:
    http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1083730_toyota-me-we-electric-car-concept-green-from-the-wheels-up
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  8. because they sunk billions to dominate the hybrid car market instead of the plug-in one. Not a surprise to see the plug-in Prius get 6 electric miles on the window sticker... not 25.

    MrEnergyCzar
     
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  9. @MrEnergyCzar: To be accurate, the Prius Plug-In Hybrid is rated by the EPA at 11 miles of electric range--but only 6 miles of that is continuous, which is to say that even in the mild EPA test cycles, the gasoline engine has to switch on at least once during the process of using up that electric range.
     
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  10. "How many Model S cars would it take to give every governor and state legislator a test drive over the next year?"

    50 states, lets say there are 200 legislators per state on average and 100 Govs and Lt Governors.

    so you have say 10,000 test rides you need to give.

    figure you can do this 5 days a week, and give say 10 executive test drives per day.

    You could do it with one car and 200 days, which would basically be 10 months.

    Now to do it with some convenience, i'd rather show up at a legislature with say 20 cars, take all of them out for test drives in one day, and then tie it to a nice function with food, wine, alcohol, give a talk and really try and sell the vision.
     
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  11. I hate lobbying.
     
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  12. Awesome news.. hopefully the DMV Commissioner in VA gets with the program.
     
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  13. i may not be a tesla fan, but this is good news. one of the many reasons that i liked coda was that they were disbanding from the old system.

    these types of protective laws should never be there.

    i thought we were supposed to live in a capitalistic economy where better ideas win out.

    when you gotta resort to passing a law to outlaw the other guy, sorta says that your system cant stand on its own merits.
     
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  14. What David Noland somehow left out of this story is that the provision preventing manufacturers from direct online or phone communication with customers isn't dead at all. It lives on in a separate bill that passed the Senate last month and the NC cardealers have every intention of getting it through the House:

    http://www.rockymounttelegram.com/business/auto-dealers-vow-keep-fighting-electric-car-maker-2093133
     
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  15. Fortunately, it's not the NC car dealers who pass bills. It's Senators and House members.

    When the Senator who is Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee and Co Chair of the Finance Committee flatly states that the anti-Tesla bill is not coming back, I'd say that carries a bit more weight than the wishful thinking of a car-dealer lobbyist.
     
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  16. Didn't we talked about this before? One way to sell EVs is by the seat time. Once buyers get into the seat and many of them will open their check books. Tesla being the KING of EVs is especially awesome in terms of driving experience. So, it is NO surprise that it will change many minds once you get to drive it...
     
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  17. GM, Ford and others know that the option for the future is renewable energy and environmentally friendly, but the petrodollars that moves traditional automotive industry coupled with the demands of those who buy the commodity, will not allow this business so profitable is they vanish from the hands and Tesla is changing the paradigm.
    http://milanocar.com/vehiculos-bogota
     
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  18. Remember : To sign this petition to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers

    in all 50 states

    https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/allow-tesla-motors-sell-directly-consumers-

    all-50-states/bFN7NHQR
     
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