Thursday, July 31, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Assembly Panel Could Help Put Tesla Back on the Road in Garden State

Tesla Motors Inc. may get an opportunity to sell its high-priced electric vehicles in New Jersey after all.

Assembly Panel Could Help Put Tesla Back on the Road in Garden State

Tesla Motors Inc. may get an opportunity to sell its high-priced electric vehicles in New Jersey after all.

Legislation that would overturn a decision by the state Motor Vehicles Commission preventing the electric car manufacturer from directly selling its vehicles to consumers in New Jersey won approval from the Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee yesterday.

The decision to block Tesla's direct sales this spring came under fire from both clean-energy proponents and free-market advocates, who wanted to know why the state would try to stop the sale of vehicles that could help reduce pollution contributing to global climate change and undercut efforts to promote cleaner-running cars.

But pushed by the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers, the state sided with the dealers who argued that Tesla was ignoring state laws requiring vehicles to be sold through licensed franchises -- typically dealerships that are members of the trade organization.

Under the bill, Tesla, whose midrange cars sell for about $70,000, would be allowed to sell directly to consumers at up to four licensed locations in New Jersey. The electric carmaker hopes to begin marketing a $35,000 vehicle in the state within the next three years, according to Diarmuid O’Connell, a vice president of business development for Tesla.

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