As the electric car industry seemingly moves from strength to strength there was something of a setback this weekend with news that Senators in New York are investigating the introduction of two new bills, which would effectively make it illegal to register a vehicle which had not been sold through the car dealership network. While Tesla was not mentioned in the two draft bills before the New York State Senators, there is no doubt that Tesla, and other major EV manufacturers, are the real targets.
Tesla currently has two stores in New York with plans for a further branch to be opened in the short to medium term. The introduction of these two draft bills has attracted the attention of Elon Musk, the chief executive officer of Tesla, and he has made his feelings known.
What does Elon Musk think?
Elon Musk has been trying to gather momentum and support from the motoring public to fight what he sees as a battle of wits with the car dealership networks. The dealerships are growing more and more concerned about the ongoing threat of EVs being sold direct to the public, and even though there is public support for this new sales stream, it seems that Elon Musk will find it very difficult to push his ideas through.
Tesla, and a number of other EV manufacturers, have been concerned for some time about what they see as a lack of support from the traditional car dealership networks. They believe, rightly or wrongly, that traditional dealerships put gasoline/diesel vehicles ahead of the EV revolution and he feels that they are being sold short. It will be interesting to see how the public reacts to the issue of EV sales through dealerships and whether this growing support will make a difference.
Quote from ElectricForum.com : "Tesla has given its strongest hint yet that with 4 years the company will have a $30,000 EV available with a 200+ mile journey capacity."
Is there a case for direct selling?
The car dealership regulations have been in place for many years now and while the likes of Elon Musk have highlighted potential flaws in the regulations, they do offer a support network and advice network which few standalone car manufacturers could offer. There were concerns that the likes of Tesla would sell vehicles directly from, for example New York, to other states in America and not be able to offer the same support service in the event of problems.
Elon Musk, along with other EV manufacturers, has stated categorically that if his company was allowed to sell EVs direct to the motoring public then they would offer a comparable advice network and support network. Whether or not this is enough for the regulators to change the current laws remains to be seen because the car lobby in America is backed by the oil lobby and together they are a formidable opponent.
Elon Musk has a habit of ruffling feathers wherever he goes and his recent comments on the EV industry are certainly causing problems. The oil lobby, the car dealership lobby, and even an array of Senators up and down America seem determined to block his vision of the future. Whether or not support from the motoring public will be enough to change the minds of Senators, who live on the votes of the general public, remains to be seen.