A bill being passed through the Arizonan senate which would have reversed earlier legislation banning the Californian automaker from selling its electric cars directly to customers within the state is likely to be dead, AutomotiveNews reported yesterday.
Coinciding with the day that New Jersey legislation came into force banning Tesla from selling electric cars to customers within the Garden State, the Arizonan bill was essentially killed by pro-autodealer association senators determined to prevent the bill from reaching a vote before the end of the session.
The Arizonan Senate, which is due to close in about a week, has ran out of time to discuss the bill and vote on it before the end of this year, meaning Tesla won’t be able to sell its electric cars directly to Arizonans any time soon.
One of three states to ban direct-to-customer sales alongside Texas and New Jersey, hope was raised that the Arizonan legislature could possibly reverse its previous legislation before the end of the season, partly because Tesla had shown interest in siting its $5 billion, 1,000 acre lithium-ion battery Gigafactory there.
Despite the draw of up to 6,500 jobs however, it appears those in the Arizonan Senate who have interests in the automotive industry aren’t keen on granting Tesla any favors.
In a statement made yesterday to AutomotiveNews, Tesla accused the powerful Arizona Automobile Dealers Association of “aggressive and draconian tactics” to keep the legislation in place, by “threatening to spend freely in the next electoral cycle to punish supporters of this free-market legislation.” In other words, those supporting the legislature were held to ransom by those who didn’t, the exact kind of tactics those who watch Netflix’s hit show House of Cards will be used to seeing.
“Eventually, as a result of the dealer led attacks, the bill ran out of time in a legislative session that was dominated by budget wrangling and subsequently cut short,” Tesla continued. “Tesla is grateful for the organic support we encountered within the Arizona legislature and the broad outpouring of support we recieved from the citizens of Arizona. We look forward to re-engaging next year.”
But Bobbi Sparrow, president of the Arizona Automobile Dealers’ Association, says Tesla has only itself to blame. “It is a decades old, failed idea to establish a vertical monopoly that is remarkably both anti-business and anti-consumer,” she said.
“There is an easy solution for Tesla, which it should be pointed out is selling cars in Arizona, unlike the situation in other states…They can play by the rules that are serving Arizona well with 28,000 jobs and nearly 25 of the state sales tax revenue,” she continued. “I think Tesla will put their battery factory right where they wanted it from the beginning…It had[sic] nothing to do with what was passed in any state.”
While the Arizona Auto Dealers’ Association is trying to disassociate Tesla’s factory decision from the state’s refusal so far to reverse its sales ban, we’re not so sure Tesla — or its customers — will be as accommodating.
With New Mexico, Texas, and Nevada all in the running as potential Gigafactory host states, the death of this particular bill — at least for the current Legislative year — seems hardly a positive reason for Tesla to cite its Gigafactory in the state.
For now then, Tesla’s battle will continue to rage in both Arizona and New Jersey, with customers forced to go to extreme lengths to own a Tesla Model S in both states.
No matter how terrible the storm however, every cloud has a silver lining: Washington State, where electric car registrations per capita are higher than any other state in the Union, has just passed a bill that allows Tesla to not only continue operations in the Pacific Northwest, but expand its stores beyond the existing ones in Seattle and Bellevue.
It’s just a shame that Washington isn’t known for its copious amounts of solar energy…
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