In a last-minute switcheroo, the government of New Jersey has passed a measure banning the direct sale of Tesla vehicles. It’s a lowdown, sneaky trick the administration of Governor Chris Christie pulled on Tesla, and one that isn’t going to win him many friends outside of the dealership associations.
Tesla had been in negotiations for months with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission for months, according to a post on the official Tesla blog. The automaker claims it was led to believe that legislation seeking to ban direct sales of the Tesla Model S would be delayed, and eventually sent to the state legislature to be voted on.
According to the Tesla blog;
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.
Basically, the administration turned on Tesla at the last minute, and the bill it promised to delay will never be voted on, at least by the state legislature. Instead, the Motor Vehicle Commission held a closed vote itself yesterday, enacting a measure to would force Tesla to sell its vehicles through a standard dealership model. It’s a dirty double-cross from an administration that has found itself mired in some serious accusations of corruption and abuse of power. It isn’t the first time Christie has pulled a bait-and-switch on environmental issues either.
For its part, Tesla has announced that sales of the Model S will crease in New Jersey beginning April 1st, even though New Jersey is one of America’s top markets for luxury vehicles. So even though it has already been issued two dealership licenses and has been operating in the Garden State for about a year, New Jersey officials decided they’d rather not have the extra tax revenue from buying and registering an expensive luxury car. Those New Jersey residents wanting to buy a Model S will have to jump through a lot of hoops to put the electric sedan in their driveway.
New Jersey joins Texas and Arizona as the only states to ban direct sales of the Tesla Model S, though several other states have tried. Meanwhile, the Chris Christie who once stood side-by-side with President Obama has now fallen into lockstep with Republican governors Jan Brewer and Rick Perry as hypocritical proponents of free market capitalism.
Just let Tesla sell their damn cars!