Will 100,000 Sign Petition For Tesla Motors Sales By Friday?

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Tesla Store  -  Portland OR

Tesla Store - Portland OR

Enlarge Photo

On June 5, a Tesla Motors fan mounted what seemed like another quixotic effort to support Tesla in selling its electric cars directly to buyers.

The petition at WhiteHouse.gov that he or she launched required 100,000 people to sign it within a month, by Friday, July 5.

Suddenly, it seems that petition may actually get the needed support--helped along by a Friday evening e-mail from the company itself.

The wording is simple:

We petition the Obama Administration to allow Tesla Motors to sell directly to consumers in all 50 states.

States should not be allowed to prevent Tesla Motors from selling cars directly to customers. The state legislators are trying to unfairly protect automobile dealers in their states from competition. Tesla is providing competition, which is good for consumers.

Early on Friday, June 29, the petition had garnered roughly 23,000 signatures in a bit more than three weeks.

Signatures soar

Friday evening, when Tesla sent out an e-mail urging its supporters to sign, the total had risen to 36,000 signatures.

The next morning, the number was up to 40,000.

And today, Sunday, at 10:20 am, it had soared past 69,000.

If signatures continue to accumulate at anything close to that rate, the goal of 100,000 should be achievable by this coming Friday.

This is not the first time such a petition has been attempted on WhiteHouse.gov; a similar effort in April failed to gain the needed signatures, and is no longer live on the site.

Tesla writes

But Tesla's e-mail obviously gave the new petition a big boost. The company wrote on Friday evening:

Tesla Store - Portland OR

Tesla Store - Portland OR

Enlarge Photo

As you may know, Tesla is under attack from a number of car dealer associations in various states who are challenging Tesla's right to directly serve our customers at Tesla Stores and Service Centers.

Their efforts are protectionist in nature and infringe on the right of the consumer to choose how they purchase and service their vehicle.

An anonymous Tesla enthusiast created a White House petition to allow direct sales of cars to consumers in all states. We want to thank the tens of thousands of fans who have voiced their support and have already signed the petition.

We want this petition to succeed. For that to happen, the petition needs 64,000 more signatures by next Friday, July 5, 2013.

Please act now and take a moment to register, sign and forward the petition today!

If the requisite number of signatures are acquired, the petition then has to be evaluated by White House staff.

The question then becomes: What on earth will they do with it?

50 sets of rules

Given that laws governing auto sales and franchised dealers are enacted at the state level--they vary in detail among all 50 states--it's not clear that a national law would be politically viable.

Elon Musk signs new 2013 Tesla Model S at Tesla Store opening, Austin, Texas [photo: John Griswell]

Elon Musk signs new 2013 Tesla Model S at Tesla Store opening, Austin, Texas [photo: John Griswell]

Enlarge Photo

Auto dealers and their state organizations are large political contributors and visible local businesses with high profiles in many communities.

If a national law were proposed--and passed--it would present an interesting test for elected representatives.

But if would also surely be tested in court. And the current Supreme Court appears to favor individual state regulations over sweeping national laws.

Worth political capital?

More than that, it's highly debatable whether this is an issue on which the White House would choose to expend limited political capital.

But it the petition succeeds in crossing the threshold, it will add another layer of interest to the ongoing battle between Tesla and auto dealers.

What do you think will happen if the petition gets 100,000 signatures?

Leave us your thoughts in the Comments below.


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Comments (54)
  1. if enyone is locking for a link to the petition here is one

  2. sorry, i mised the hyperlink in the article, silly me :)

  3. Elon has a lot going for him with repeat to the supreme court. Although he's an immigrant, a sizable disadvantage, he's rich, a corporate tycoon, the right color, male, and the right sexuality. Scalia and Roberts will pay attention to him.

  4. What, you don't give him any credit for being an African American? Is that because he's the wrong color?

  5. It brings to the attention of the Federal Government the ongoing multi-decade "protectionist" laws that went into effect that originally protected the consumer which now protect the dealers instead. NADA and dealership 3rd party laws do nothing to help consumers anymore and the government should realize that.

  6. The "government" realizes lots of things and sometimes that realization even attempts to move the wheels. But the wheel lubricant is green and has pictures of dead presidents pasted all over it.

  7. there are so many political handshakes, that it is anybody's guess what the federal govt will attempt to do.

    one thing the petition will do is make the consumers more aware of this sort of law.

    i was unaware of it, until i saw it here for the first time.

    i dont like tesla, but there should not be a law preventing them from selling their cars without a dealership.

    if they make a car that a consumer wants to buy from them directly, then so be it.

  8. it went from 70,106 to 70,190 in just 2 minutes.

  9. the site is not updating with each count, so it is a little hard to tell how fast the count is rising. but with any sort of snowball effect, it does seem as if it will get to 100,000 on time.

  10. 72,449 at 5pm. i am no longer sure if that pace is fast enough ?

    the 4th is not apt to see many people on the computer. and everyone is recovering on the 5th. and sunday is almost over, in terms of waking hours.

    i hope it makes it there.

  11. It will make it there. At the rate it is going it is just fine. The biggest jumps will be Monday when this ends up all over the news as I am seeing more news outlets pick it up.

    Sundays are always slow,so it should be ok. But it would probably help if more people submit the story to news outlets online.

  12. 82,942 at 5:13 pm monday

  13. 84,733 at 10 pm monday

  14. 86,929 at 12:00am monday

    At current rate, assuming worst case scenario that it ends at july 5th 12:00am EST, it needs 189.43 signatures per hour. It is going at a pace where it should easily make it.

  15. There are more comments in this thread
  16. I signed in at 80,481 and it's already up to 81,047 just 20 minutes later. I sure hope this petition passes 100,000 signatures.

    I'm not sure what authority the President will have against the states in regulating their commerce. But, I do believe NADA has created a monopoly to the detriment of consumers. Since Tesla has no dealers to compete against, these laws don't apply to them. So, NADA is coming up with even more protectionist lobbying. I hope the whole thing backfires on them and they lose their monopoly protection.

  17. this isnt about authority to do something so much as it is in making the situation more visible to the population.

    i dont think 1 in a 100 people are gonna support the govt making a protectionist law like this.

    the more people that know, the more likely said people can accomplish something. and the feds certainly have the "authority" to make this petition more visible to the public, if they so choose.

  18. I've done my part, I got the e-mail from Tesla asking me to add my name to the petition, followed the link, and but my name on when there were just over 60,000 signatures.

  19. There is not much the executive branch can do other then make the FTC regulate interstate commerce which would allow Tesla to sell over the internet in any state. While congress can pass a law, it is unlikely they will without Tesla lobbying. But it can also create media attention that the population is for direct sales. This can make local senators/houses avoid passing anti-direct sales bills in fear of backlash by the public. (Remember that most local politicians are elected by very few people, their job is to stay out of media attention the best they can because a few people can easily swing votes against them)

    If this issue is taken to the supreme court though. Tesla will most likely win. Simply because these laws are unconstitutional

  20. well elon musk has a humongous ego, which in this case works for the populace.

    if there really is even a decent chance for success, i have no doubts that musk will take it to the supreme court.

    and his competition will no doubt make that same conclusion.

    which might even be more helpful in that it would probably eliminate any other such protectionist laws of which we may not be familiar with.

    so the auto companies may choose to lose simply on this issue, rather than creating a precedent for protectionist laws, on a general basis.

  21. The war to stop Elon Musk and Tesla has only begun. He threatens everyone remotely involved in the massive fossil fuel-internal combustion engine complex that has controlled and monopolized the personal vehicle industry for over a century. Musk is threatening the world order, and this is only the first skirmish. Where do I sign up to help him?

  22. It would have been better to have this petition written to include the fifty states plus the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories; i.e., Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Territory of Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Because these island territories are limited in area, the range of an electric vehicle is not much of an issue for consumers that live in these territories and, because shipping gasoline or diesel to the islands adds cost, electric vehicles can offer consumers more significant savings in fuel. The faster economic payback for the consumer will increase the demand for electric vehicles in these islands. Any federal law should also encompass the U.S. territories.

  23. There is no issue, except for all the opponents of Musk and Tesla. That is the only issue. They know that in 3 years Musk will have a car and a system that will eliminate all the "range" problems that make people think twice about getting an EV. That is why they are now seriously worried and the war on Tesla and Musk has begun in earnest. If Musk is allowed to live and carry out his plans, there will be a genuine threat to the internal combustion engine industry and the fossil fuel industries. This business of the dealerships is just the first shot across his bow. I hope he lives to see his plans come to fruition, but I were a betting man, I wouldn't bet that they'd let him live to see them carried out. This man sends rockets into space.

  24. Elon is a very talented and driven individual, but Tesla is more than one person. There is a highly skilled team there that is dedicated to the vision of replacing the ICE with the EV. That vision will remain whether Elon is there or not. A brilliant team with a strong vision is not so easy to defeat, and creating martyrs can be extremely counter-productive.

  25. I agree, Elon Musk is a very dedicated talented and driven individual. However Tesla is a team effort and Elon has surrounded himself with like minded individuals who are working to achieve independence from fossil fuels. What I really like about Tesla is they are really interested in listening to their customers and they have added Creep feature to mimic an automatic transmission as well as listening to their customers feedback on what they would like in the interior. George Blankenship said that he wants everyone to walk out of a Tesla store with a smile on their face and I am looking forward to Tesla releasing the specs and offering to accept deposits on their $30,000 Gen III which should be released come 2016.

  26. I'm pretty much willing to eat something fantastically gross if people buy Gen III vehicles at $30,000. I'm thinking more like 35 K plus with an emphasis on the +, "after" the $7500 tax credit.

  27. Right now the Tesla Model S is not a serious threat to the gasoline automakers however if Tesla can market its $35,000 200 mile range EV with the supercharger network in place by 2016 all across the USA then I say Tesla has hit the traditional automakers right where it hurts and they will need to start adding some range to the Ev's that they sell or Tesla will dominate the EV market because they have much longer driving range and a supercharging network set up across the USA. Either way Elon Musk will be pushing the EV envelope right now and in the future.

  28. I signed up when I first seen the story back about a week ago. Lets see if we can stop the protectionist dealers from using lawsuits to prevent Tesla from selling their cars to people who want to buy them. I do not like protectionist laws and anti competitive protectionism lawsuits against the only great Maker of electric cars Tesla. Lets see the gasoline automakers make some great EV's with good driving range and actually win sales away from Tesla instead of trying to use the law stop Tesla from selling a great product

  29. People will just leave the state to buy the Tesla...hurts the state that doesn't allow them to be sold....


  30. i doubt it, unless they are close to a border


  32. The problem is the weight of the panel most of the time will take away all the benefits it provides. We need to perfect the paint on solar cells and let the car's paint act as a solar panel.

  33. The vehicle is a poor location for solar cells. At today's efficiency, a car would need 2-3 times the surface area found on a mid-sized vehicle. The added weigh also reduces efficiency, thus needing more panels.

    Placing solar panels at location were an EV is parked for longer periods (e.g home, or work) does make sense. Being able to supply 15-25 years of energy, locked in at today's rates.

  34. Everybody making a decent consumer product should have the self evident and unalienable right to sell it to the public without the forced intervention of a middleman.

    This way a situation is avoided in which a middleman who has forced himself between you and the market by using his political influence can sidetrack your product in favour of rivalling technologies he is already invested in.

    Yes to free markets, no to mobster schemes!

  35. as i stated, i did not know about it til i read it here.

    and i was almost shocked that such a law would be on the books.

    talk about the govt abusing its power !!!

  36. Frankly being forced to use the services of a third party in your sales efforts isn't that much different from Mario and Luigi making the local shopkeepers an offer they can't refuse regarding their security services.

  37. Great petition. I would love to have the White House weigh in on this.

  38. Just signed..at 75,233 c'mon people.

  39. Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with Tesla's position as a UK citizen it not appropriate that I sign ( Bah you meddling Brits).

    However I do find it somewhat ironic that these laws exist at a local level but important things such a emissions rules are at federal level (please disabuse me if I am wrong). It has always struck me that emissions rules appropriate for California seem to dictate to states such as Montana with a very sparse population and very different demographic.

    I can understand that Diesel with poor NOx performance is a No No in CA but Texas, Montana etc. Do me a favour.

    Anyway I hope the petition is successful, it will have a wide impact.

    Perhaps PSA will set up a web site so you can buy a 60mpg DS3 distributed directly,

  40. When California started trying to regulate emissions, automakers freaked out. National emissions regulations were enacted partly because the automakers themselves wanted only one set of rules to play by, and only one regulator to lobby. California was grandfathered in (I think a Supreme Court decision was invovled?), so now they mostly play by California's rules anyways. The point is that for the rest of the country, they can sell the same cars anywhere without having to lobby 50 state legislatures with 50 different ideas of acceptable emissions and testing methods.

  41. Jeremy,

    I am a Californian and in the 1970s, I lived in the Inland Empire (near Los Angeles), which was one of the smoggiest places on earth. The U.S. Federal government would have never forced vehicle manufacturers to clean up their emissions, so California did it themselves. The air in California is quite pleasant, compared to how it used to be 40 years ago and there are a lot more cars. 13 other states have adopted California's emission standards and it has helped in many other areas of the country as well.

    If we had waited for the U.S. federal government to reduce emissions, California's air pollution would be as bad as China's right now.

  42. "Whilst I agree wholeheartedly with Tesla's position as a UK citizen it not appropriate that I sign ( Bah you meddling Brits)."

    Because UK exists on a different planet then Earth and things that are done to damage the earth do not effect the UK?

    If the site allows anyone to petition the everyone is allowed to do it. Of course if you don't want to that is your choice,nobody is forcing you, but I don't think the location you live is a factor.

  43. perhaps this is why the petition was still doing well when all us americans were sleeping ?

  44. I signed

  45. If you hurry to the site you may be # 100,000. Several signings per minute though and 0ver 99,800!!!

  46. It has just passed the 100,000 signatures mark, so it looks like we'll get to see what the white house has to say on the matter after all!

  47. I signed at about the 54,000 mark on June 29th because of the Telsa e-mail. I then decided to create my own petition unrelated to electric cars. Non the less, if you agree, please sign.


  48. this should have been just u.s. citizens. the white house should not act upon anything but americans.

    hopefully there will end up with 100,000 u.s. citizens.

  49. This is not a request to amend the Constitution, build the Death Star or start a war.
    Plenty of non-citizens who pay taxes and drive & buy cars.

  50. actually, in this particular case, i dont have too much problem with someone not being a citizen, IF THEY ARE A RESIDENT.

    but from what i understand, anyone from any country can sign this petition ?

    the white house should not be influenced in any way from petitioners outside this country.

    and dont think that the car companies wont use that exact logic for leverage, if they decide to fight against whatever the feds may do about it.

    and they would be correct.

  51. U.S. politics are shaped by outside influence all the time. Why make this any different?

  52. hi keith,

    this is different. it is one thing for the govt to make decisions based upon world events.

    it is quite another to allow other countries to directly petition the white house.

    it benefits us in this case, but it is not something that i would desire to be done.

    what other country in the world have a petition process that would allow americans to cast their vote ?

    this petition refers strictly to american laws in question.

    americans have their best interest at heart. do you think people of other countries are voting based upon what they think is best for americans ?

    and not living here, how would they even be able to judge what is best for americans ?

  53. Speaking pragmatically, it is amazing to scroll down the petition signatories and see people from all parts of the county. 100,000 is a lot of people! North south east and west large and small famous and completely tucked away from the outside world. It really is thrilling to see so much participation.

    I guess there is something more to politics than people getting power selfishly. Looking through the rolling scrolls though, I did not see locations outside the US. With 108,000 plus signers already, there will likely be over 100,000 US residents. N'est-ce pas?

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