Anti-Tesla Amendment To Ohio Senate Bill 137 Fails: EV Fans Rejoice

In the past half hour an amendment to Ohio Senate Bill 137 — which would have made it impossible for Tesla Motors [NASDAQ:TSLA] to sell its cars direct to customers without using a third-party independent dealer — was defeated, allowing the original bill to pass 12-0 without negatively curtailing Tesla’s ability to sell its Model S in Ohio.

Tesla can sell its Model S and subsequent electric cars in Ohio, the Ohio Senate decides.

Tesla can sell its Model S and subsequent electric cars in Ohio, the Ohio Senate decides.

Senate Bill 137, a bi-partisan, benign bill designed to improve the safety of the men and women who look after Ohio’s roads, received a last-minute addition last week designed to halt the sale of Tesla electric cars in the state. But after successful campaigning from Tesla, EV advocates and fans in Ohio, the Senate cast out the proposed amendment to the bill before passing it 12-0.

Writing on the Tesla Motors Club Forum, forum member  Ryan — aka PokerBroker — who attended the hearing in Ohio — posted the following, simple message to signal the defeat of the amendment in the Ohio Senate.

“Ohio strikes down the amendment to SB137 which would limit Tesla’s direct sales and then passes the unamended bill 12-0.”

He later added:

“No official announcement yet as the greater session was to continue. I’m sure there will be official news soon,” telling us that “It sounds like, although the amendment was defeated today, we will likely see it introduced at a later date as a stand-alone bill. The auto dealer special interest groups won’t give up so easily… but neither will we!”

 

Tesla had written to its Ohio customers and fans yesterday asking them to attend the Senate Bill 137 hearing, which was originally scheduled for tomorrow. But shortly after Tesla had sent its email asking for support, the bill’s hearing was moved forward a day, presumably to try and scupper any chances of the amendment to the bill being defeated.

But as The Columbus Despatch (via GreenCarReports) reports, Tesla had already put into play the biggest weapon in its arsenal to persuade lawmakers that passing the amendment was a bad thing: its Model S.

We’re not sure if it was the Model S P85 test drives Tesla offered members of the Ohio legislature yesterday outside the Ohio Statehouse, Tesla’s growing base of contented customers, or just plain common sense, but we’re glad to see this particular attempt to ban Tesla from selling in Ohio quashed at the first hurdle.

That doesn’t mean however that the battle between powerful auto dealer associations and Tesla Motors is over yet: with plenty more states to fight for a right to sell its Model S and subsequent cars in, this particular victory is just the latest match in an agonisingly long game.

 

Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield
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Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

Self-confessed geek and mother of two, Nikki has been talking and writing about cars ever since she passed her driving test. Back then, her Internet contributions were all classic car-focused. Now, she’s all about greener, cleaner, safer and smarter cars.
Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield
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  • danwat1234

    Awesome

  • PaulScott58

    This is great news! Thanks for letting us know. I was pissed after reading your first piece on this, now I’m happy. The good guys win!

  • Jason

    Who was the sponsor of the bill? Maybe he should be asked why he felt this bill was necessary? Damn it media, do your damn job to hold people accountable for questionable actions.

    • tegger

      I agree. Public shaming for all politicians that are simply puppets for corporations……of course, that’ll end up shaming every single politician.

    • zb

      I think Texas banned Tesla nnWhy Texas Bans the Sale of Tesla Cars – Elon Musk http://youtu.be/CxcBRjcQrvA

  • Ziegler45314

    The amendment had nothing to do with banning EVs. The problem is the direct sales issue, which in the broader picture might seem silly, but it isn’t silly to the auto dealers lobby.

    • BiteMyJihad

      Thanks, Captain Obvious!

      • Jay Martz

        hahaha ^^

        • dentss

          Good lord ! no auto dealer to mark-up prices …how will we ever survive

      • Ziegler45314

        Misleading headline gives the impression that the bill would have banned Tesla vehicles in Ohio. You’re welcome, Lieutenant Dimwit.

        • Michael Thwaite

          Well, that is probably the upshot of the rule and would spell the beginning of a slippery slope resulting in the demise of Auto 2.0. Ok, maybe not that dramatic but, Tesla has/is building a new marque with a 2013 sales model that customers _really_ appreciate and one that the other auto dealers need/should look at. This amendment would have placed Tesla Model S cars at your local Porsche/Audi/Bentley dealership and we’ve seen that fail with other brands – the dealers aren’t sufficiently skilled or motivated to maintain an EV on the lot.nnnI think the larger fear is that other manufacturers will follow Tesla and the dealers will be in trouble. But, isn’t that the natural evolution of things? Adapt or die?nnnThe dealers need to look at the opportunities here, not fight the change… And definitely not try to slip it into other solid legislation, that’s really re-enforcing a stereotype.

          • Ziegler45314

            My question would be, “who handles service after the sale?” It’s one thing to deliver your brand new Tesla to your doorstep or have you come pick it up from the plant, but then what happens if there is a problem? Take it to my local mechanic who won’t know beans about it? nnnnI’m asking genuinely curious, because one of the major selling points of buying a new car through a dealership is being able to take your vehicle to someone who knows it and keeps parts in stock for it so you don’t have to wait for days/weeks for something relatively minor to get fixed. Yeah, that doesn’t matter that much (read: at all) for an old Dodge truck (hundreds of mechanics many parts outlets in your local area if you live near a major urban area), but for something like a Tesla, that sort of support would be critical.

          • Michael Thwaite

            Wherever Tesla sells cars, they roll in their service centers. They’re analogous to dealer service bays – the kind of things that the bigger dealerships have, central service-only locations in the cheaper part of town. The difference is that they’re staffed by EV folk who, IME, have been very attentive. You can also purchase parts directly from the service centers – I snapped the turn-signal stalk clean off of my Roadster – it was a $45 part (1/5th the Internet price) and arrived next-day, Saturday.nnnFor remote users, as I was in the early days, they just send a guy with a van.nnnThe question I have is, will this scale? I can take my Roadster to the local car dealer for brakes, tires, wheels, bodywork, etc. but annual service HIPOT test, er. no. But that does exist to and extent with, say, BMW and Audi.nnnAt the current projected scale, buying a Tesla in no-where’s-ville might be a great idea so again, the dealers shouldn’t really worry, I don’t think, especially at the yearly numbers Tesla are projecting compared to what Ford sold yesterday, and will sell again tomorrow.

          • http://www.transportevolved.com/ Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield

            If you look on the TeslaMotorsClub you’ll find a whole slew of really good service decisions made by Tesla in the real world: People who have cars repaired on their driveway by the Service rangers — who will even visit you at your place of work or home. nnhttp://www.greencarreports.com/news/1084745_life-with-tesla-model-s-trying-out-the-service-program is a good first-hand report form a guy who visited a service centre with a fault with his car. nnnnYes, you’re essentially restricted to servicing with Tesla — but then many other automakers get fussy if you have your car serviced anywhere but at an approved dealer. For Tesla, it can control the quality and training of the staff there, without handing off to an unknown third-party. nnnHere in the UK some dealerships are owned by the automakers. In general, these are treated as ‘keystone’ stores of excellence and provide a ‘this is how it should be’ guide for third-party dealers. But if Tesla’s approach helps minimize customer complaints and improve consistency, I’ll go for it. nnnAfter all, you’d take your iPod to an Apple store for repair, right?

        • BiteMyJihad

          Only if a person’s reading comprehension levels are as low as yours I guess. Good job, Admiral Imbecile!

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  • Chris Hollman

    “although the amendment was defeated today, we will likely see it introduced at a later date as a stand-alone bill.”nnJust like the creationists with their assault on science education, just like SOPA/PIPA/etc… they will never stop, and I fear if they can’t get their way legally they will just do so illegally… and I fear this has happened many times in the past.

  • Ed Haas

    Car dealerships enjoy their monopolies, therefore, they care VERY little about the actual economy of the state beyond their own parking lots. Stopping Tesla from selling anywhere is the same as saying they’re anti-jobs.

    • http://www.blagoplanet.com/ Thomas Bodetti

      This is the reason why you see higher and higher prices for new cars, while other nations enjoy the ability to purchase vehicles for as little as $3000 they get better gas mileage and cost much less of course you cant watch DVD movies in those vehicles but who really cars about that crap anyway, give me a vehicle that gets me from point A to point B and stop soaking us with deceptive advertising.

  • wesvvv

    Gosh, imagine if all cars just had a price, and the meek and unsavvy didn’t have to get robbed to buy a car. What a concept!

  • reread

    No, understand this correctly:nAll car brands are sold through third party franchise dealership, except for Tesla. Tesla company is the sole owners of factories, service centers and sales departments.nThat’s what the fight was about. Forcing a business to do something. Kinda like government can force businesses and individuals to buy or do something. But thats the direction this society is headed. So..

    • BradKoch

      Except it was big business pushing for the rule to force Tesla to use a dealership to sell it’s products.

      • airtonix

        Sounds like these parasites don’t want to learn how to skill themselves in a new line of work.

      • reread

        Oh yea, you’re so smart. Big Business (Tesla) being forced to sell it’s products thru the family owned dealerships, wow.nNo wait. Big business (private-owned dealerships) forcing the little guy (public company Tesla) to sell it’s products, what… wait..nYou make so much sense! (/end sarcasm)nnEither way, crony capitalism. Using the power of law to force a business to do something.nThe biggest business, franchisor, insurer, trust, pension fund, etc: Government. woooaaaahhh! Product that Gov’t produces: —- (?)—-nnBut let me guess, this is different because it’s Tesla, a company that Libs like. Apple Corporation too, right?nYes, the businesses that Liberals like can do what they want.nBecause the courts are owned by LibsnnFinal point: Using power of law for cronyism – no bueno.

  • Michael Thwaite

    Perhaps it’s time for a Federal Law to ensure that American car companies can sell to American people in any American state.

  • ripvannwinkler

    Since when is it the government’s responsibility to legislate who can and can’t do business with whom? This shit is beyond fucking out of hand. These people need to start paying for this abuse of government power. It starts with voting their stupid asses out of office. Get moving, people.

  • http://www.blagoplanet.com/ Thomas Bodetti

    It would be Awesome to just vote those people out of office that refuse to act in the best interest of the American People, Its not rocket Science, its just common sense. nnAnyone that votes for a law that takes away the liberty of the people in favor or wealthy business people who are Rich because they have profited from installing a middle man between the people and what they wish to purchase is a disgrace to this nation.

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  • Dennis Pascual

    Tesla needs to stop being on the defensive on this issue and go on the offensive in all the states and the District of Columbia… nnnThey need to put a fleet of P85+ vehicles in all the state capitals and D.C. and provide special VIP test drives to the legislators and other interested parties.nnnOn the other side of it, Tesla can sell their vehicles through car dealers as well as direct. Just price it the same as to those that buy directly, minimal volume discounts for these same dealers (a la Apple). If they want to stock a Model S in their showroom, go ahead, just don’t restrict them from selling directly.

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