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Update | New Jersey Bill May Open Doors to Tesla Motors and Consumers

Update 3/18:


Update 3/16: The Senate bill passed and is now on Gov. Christie’s desk, which would allow Tesla cars to be sold in New Jersey immediately.

Update: The Commerce committee passed it 6-0 and the bill now moves to the Senate for a vote and next would be Chris Christie’s desk.

Recent developments by the New Jersey State Commerce committee may open the door for Tesla Motors to being able to sell directly to consumers in the Garden State once again.  According to NJ.com, “the committee plans to take up the bill (S2098) this afternoon (Tues. 3/09)” that would allow manufacturers of zero-emission vehicles to sell direct-to-consumers in its company’s showrooms.

It seems to be a custom bill of sorts, that allows the Silicon Valley automaker to create as many as four retail locations in New Jersey and, at least, one service center facility. According to the bill’s language, it would take effect immediately and disregard the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission ruling against Tesla Motors selling directly in the state in 2014.

Tesla-Service-Center-TeslaClubLA

Right now, current Tesla Motors New Jersey showrooms allow “browsing” for consumers but employees cannot assist in a sales or take customers on test drives.

I don’t like to quote politicians much, unless they’re flaming red-hot hypocrites, like the ones we reported on a couple of months ago. Anyway, this sums it up pretty good from the original sponsor of the bill according to NJ.com:

“It would be nice to finally be able to sell Tesla in New Jersey. I never thought it was a good idea to stymie anybody’s business,” said Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen), the bill’s Assembly sponsor.

As reported here in the past and after looking at the language of the bill, this update seems directly targeted for Tesla Motors and its zero-emission vehicles. However, the bill’s language specifically states zero-emission vehicle manufacturers can sell direct-to-consumers as long as it conforms to the definition laid out by the Calif. Zero Emissions Board.

I may be missing the win-wink or nod-nod of the bill’s details, but this seems like an opportunity for say GM’s all-electric Spark (if they’re producing it anymore) or the Honda Fit. Why wouldn’t big automakers leverage this bill, create a web site and sell directly to consumers in New Jersey? Bad vibrations for future business with dealers or inertia?

Do an end-run around the dealerships, where they don’t perform well and don’t like selling EVs! Seems like an opportunity, instead of an impasse.

Anyway, back to Tesla, this is great news for the Silicon Valley automaker as news came out of China on Monday that reveals reduced staff from its operations there, primarily public relations and support personnel.

Tesla Motors is expected to deliver 55,000 X and S vehicles in 2015 and this should help with that effort, and possibly with other state legislators banning the all-electric automaker.

What are you thoughts on your state? Is the needle moving toward Tesla Motors?
Related Content >> Tesla Motors 2015 Strategy to Fight Dealer Laws, Stay Aggressive

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