Tesla in New Jersey: FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!
On Tuesday, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) passed a ruling that essentially prevents the sale of Tesla vehicles in the state henceforth, and, boy, is Elon Musk pissed. The ruling bans the direct sale of vehicles in the Garden State, meaning that Tesla can now only sell cars if they move through dealership hands. Given the fact that dealerships are about as frightened of anything with the name Tesla on it as Thomas Edison was of the actual Tesla, it’s as good as a closed door for the automaker in a state that’s widely considered the poor man’s New York. The banning of Tesla in New Jersey is just the latest instance of a growing contingent of states fighting the automaker and their direct sale business model, but if reading Tesla’s word on affairs is any indication, this one might sting just a little bit more than the others.
A blog posted on Tuesday by Tesla doesn’t pull many punches:
Unfortunately, Monday we received news that Governor Christie’s administration has gone back on its word to delay a proposed anti-Tesla regulation so that the matter could be handled through a fair process in the Legislature. The Administration has decided to go outside the legislative process by expediting a rule proposal that would completely change the law in New Jersey. This new rule, if adopted, would curtail Tesla’s sales operations and jeopardize our existing retail licenses in the state. Having previously issued two dealer licenses to Tesla, this regulation would be a complete reversal to the long standing position of NJMVC on Tesla’s stores. Indeed, the Administration and the NJMVC are thwarting the Legislature and going beyond their authority to implement the state’s laws at the behest of a special interest group looking to protect its monopoly at the expense of New Jersey consumers. This is an affront to the very concept of a free market.
The blog goes on to call the dealership model one that is reliant on “middlemen,” point out some shady tactics of Governor Christie’s administration, and chide the state of New Jersey for stunting the public’s continued education on what benefits electric cars offer.
“We urge the Christie administration to act in good faith and withdraw the proposed amendment, or amend it so that it reflects the true intent of the Legislature and the people of New Jersey.”
Gee, Elon. Tell us how you really feel.
Christie spokesman Kevin Roberts said that the only way Tesla would make its way back into New Jersey would be by getting legislation passed that “unilaterally change[s] the way cars are sold in New Jersey.” (It’s my assumption that his quote was only barely audible over the sound of dealership kickback cash rustling in his pockets.)
This marks yet another state that is adamantly refusing Tesla and all their gaulddurned crazy talk of creating jobs and infrastructure. New Jersey’s ban makes them the third state to exile Tesla, right behind Texas and that bastion of sanity and reason, Arizona.
So what’s your take: is Tesla’s business model a future that those trapped in the present are reluctant to accept, or is it simply another fad that will flame out after a few years?