Tesla Motors is coming closer to being able to sell its electric vehicles in Connecticut following an approval to a controversial bill by the state’s House of Representatives on Thursday, says a report from Courant. It means that soon Tesla will be able to sell its cars directly to customers without having to go through the traditional dealership system.
Tesla allowed to open three stores
The Tesla bill was passed 116-32, and the company’s admirers claim that Tesla is a great firm with state-of-the-art technology for electric cars. However, opponents, as usual, were not happy with the decision, claiming it to be unfair as it only benefits one company.
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According to Rep. Tony Guerrera, co-chairman of the legislature’s transportation committee, if the bill gets final approval, then Tesla will be allowed to open three stores in the state. If the car maker gets the approval, and it opens three stores in the state, the move is expected to create 25 to 75 jobs in Connecticut. The original bill actually included a provision for five stores, but during the discussion, the House approved only three stores. The bill is awaiting approval from the state Senate and Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
It must be noted that the bill applies only to those companies that make and sell electric cars and have no sort of franchise agreements with dealers. So for now anyway, the bill applies only to Tesla.
Opponents term the bill “crony capitalism”
At the start of the session, the bill received heavy opposition from dealers. In February, former state Sen. James Fleming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, criticized the bill while addressing the transportation committee.
In his testimony, Fleming said that allowing Tesla to take advantage of a “corporate loophole” could be risky and may jeopardize local businesses which have operated under the laws for over 40 years. Fleming further added that the company is still not profitable and lost $65 million in 2013. Also its CEO, Elon Musk, expects the company to be profitable by the year 2020. Fleming said Tesla cars are not very affordable, and only the rich can buy them.
Also Rep. Rob Sampson, a conservative Republican from Wolcott, raised concerns about the bill, saying the approval suggests the “wrong with government,” adding that it highlights that the government can change the rules for anyone who lobbies for a change. Sampson termed the bill “crony capitalism.”
Meanwhile, Tesla’s vice president for business development, Diarmuid O’Connell, welcomed the bill, saying it will help bring more jobs to the state.