Bill to allow direct sale of Tesla cars to Texas customers will likely die

Courtesy Jalopnik

If you were hoping 2015 would be the year that Texas lawmakers would finally vote to allow Tesla Motors to sell their cars direct to customers in the Lone Star State, you may want to pin your hopes on the 2017 legislative session instead. The latest direct sales bill has been met with considerable opposition.

The Dallas Morning News reports on the progress of the bill, and it isn’t good. The bill authored by Democratic Rep. Eddie Rodriguez would allow an independent newcomer like Tesla to have up to 12 stores in the state where they could sell cars. A companion bill was filed in the State Senate by Dallas-area Republican Sen. Kelly Hancock.

But Rodriguez’s bill has gone to the House Licensing and Administrative Procedures Committee, and none of the lawmakers in that group have expressed support for the bill. From the DMN:

While some lawmakers indicated they like a free market, none on the licensing committee came out in clear support of the bill. Much of the legislators’ discussion focused on concerns that the bill would create two systems, hurting the dealerships that have been playing by the rules.

At the moment, would-be Tesla buyers in Texas are prevented from discussing pricing or ordering cars at the many “gallery” locations across the state and even prevented from going on test drives, though many of those let prospective customers test cars regularly anyway. If they buy a Tesla online, the car is delivered in an unmarked truck and customers must unwrap it themselves. It’s all a bit silly.

Naturally, Rodriguez’s bill has received considerable pushback from car dealers and their advocates, groups with tremendous spending and lobbying power. They spend millions on campaign contributions, and while Tesla brought their lobbying A-Game this time around, they still may not be able to compete.