Mississippi bill aiming to restrict EV direct sales passes the Senate

A Tesla retail store at International Market Place in Waikiki, Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. Here, a Tesla Model X is on display with its falcon wing doors up. (Credit: Tony Webster from Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)

Tesla and other electric vehicle makers may find it harder to open new company-owned stores in Mississippi in the future. Following a nearly two-hour debate among lawmakers, House Bill 401 passed through the Senate by a vote of 38-14. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk. 

House Bill 401 is controversial. If it does get signed into law, electric vehicle makers like Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid would be mandated to sell their vehicles through a franchised dealership. EV makers today typically sell their electric cars through company-owned stores.

In a statement to WJTV 21 News, State Senator Jeremy England noted that the bill is simply bad policy. He also stated that with the bill in place, Mississippi is sending the wrong message. This could result in the state losing out on what could be lucrative investments. 

“We’re telling the electric vehicle (makers) who use a different sales model, that their sales model is not acceptable in Mississippi. If you have to go to a middleman and go to a dealership, you can already count on a 5% increase in cost tacked on just for the middleman on that. 

“I believe we’re sending the wrong message. I think we’re telling them, “Look, we’re going to do things the old way here in Mississippi. Good luck in the other states.’ They’re going to start selling their vehicles there, and we’re going to miss out on it,” England said. 

Supporters of the bill have noted that it would ensure that all carmakers play by the same rules, regardless of their respective business models. England, however, argued that states like Nevada, which allow companies like Tesla to sell their cars through company-owned stores, recently saw a massive investment worth billions of dollars. 

“I think we took a step backwards with this legislation today… In Nevada, they’re an open model state. They allow direct sales from electric vehicle manufacturers. They just saw a $3.4 billion investment by a battery company in the state of Nevada,” England said. 

Fortunately, Tesla’s lone store in Brandon, Mississippi will be allowed to operate even if House Bill 401 is passed into law.

Below is the text of House Bill 401 as passed by the House.

HB0401PS by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

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Mississippi bill aiming to restrict EV direct sales passes the Senate
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