Tesla Loses A Second Time In Texas

A twin set of bills that would have allowed Tesla Motors to sell vehicles in Texas have expired.

Two years ago, a pro-Tesla bill was sent to Texas legislators that would permit the electric carmaker to sell directly to consumers. But the bill never received committee approval and expired at the end of the legislative session.

Now, this second set of bills have perished the same way. Under House Bill 1653 and State Bill 639 (both with identical wording), Tesla would have been able to open up to 12 retail locations within the state. Other carmakers could have also sold directly to customers, provided they had never sold vehicles in Texas through a franchise dealership.

These bills were introduced to the Texas Legislature earlier this year, and in March, the house bill was sent to a committee. No further actions were taken on either, leaving both pending until they expired this month.

SEE ALSO: FTC Stance On Factory-Direct Sales Extends Beyond Tesla And Michigan

One of the groups working against Tesla in the state are the auto dealers, most of whom strongly oppose the company’s factory-direct sales method. Bill Wolters, president of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association, previously commented that Tesla sales are “a bad idea for our state.” As part of his argument, Wolters said that auto dealers support the state through revenue and community involvement, neither of which Tesla would do.

Rep. Senfroia Thompson was also against the bills, and remarked that Tesla should have done more.

“I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first,” Thompson said.

Tesla won’t have another opportunity to legalize sales in Texas until 2017, when the state’s legislature reconvenes.

So far, there has been no official response from Tesla Motors, and no unofficial Twitter post from CEO Elon Musk.

 

Photo credit: Ron Antonelli/Bloomberg