After being banned last year from selling cars in New Jersey, Tesla Motors is one step closer to resuming sales.
Yesterday, the state’s Senate Commerce Committee unanimously approved a bill that will allow Tesla to sell directly to customers. The bill only applies to zero-emission electric vehicles sold by the manufacturer.
Even though the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) initially granted Tesla a dealer’s license in 2012, the department later changed its position on direct sales. Last April, MVC said Tesla would not be eligible for a license and blocked further consumer-direct sales.
The bill will now move for a vote in the full Senate and then onto final approval by Governor Chris Christie. Previously, Christie stated he had “no problem” with Tesla selling cars in New Jersey as long as state regulations allowed it.
“This is good for New Jersey. This is good for America,” said James Chen, Tesla’s vice president of regulatory affairs.
Chen’s remarks likely allude to similar battles Tesla is immersed in around the country. In addition to New Jersey, Tesla sales are also banned in Maryland, Connecticut, Iowa, Michigan, Texas and Arizona.
Legislators in some of these other banned markets are also looking into allowing Tesla sales. Two identical bills – submitted to both the House and Senate – are currently being debated in Texas.
Last month, Connecticut lawmakers introduced a bill to the state Senate. And in Arizona, a House committee endorsed a similar a bill allowing factory-direct vehicle sales, sending the bill to the next stage for approval.