Groundhog EV Day: Ohio car dealers want to prevent Tesla from selling in the state

Ohio welcomes you except Tesla
CC BY-ND 2.0 Flickr

It's déjà vu all over again

The car dealers of yet one more state are trying to block Tesla from selling its electric cars directly to consumers. We saw this story play out in Texas, and now it's Ohio. Again. They already tried to ban Tesla stores via an amendment to Senate Bill 137, but that didn't work. So now they're taking another approach, asking the courts to revoke Tesla's license to sell cars in the state.

© Tesla

Here's the best part:

In the suit, filed in Franklin County Common Pleas Court, the dealers say that the state agencies improperly approved Tesla’s dealer license this year because the company did not provide a copy of its contract with the manufacturer of the vehicles to be sold.

Even though the manufacturer and the retailer are the same company, dealers say that the law still calls for proper documentation.

And, as the dealers see it, Tesla would be unable to submit a valid contract because the law requires such an agreement to be between “two separate contracting parties,” Bruce said.

So they're basically trying to make it harder for the people of Ohio to buy electric cars, and to harm a US manufacturing startup creating good jobs, based on a legal technicality.

"Oh, sorry, you didn't initial paragraph 37B on page 85, you can't sell cars in our state."

Not that they will (it wouldn't be a good use of resources), but I wonder what Tesla's lawyers could find if they went through car dealer's paperwork with the state with a fine toothed comb...

Flickr/CC BY 2.0

“This is the same kind of bullying from the dealers we’ve faced in other states,” said James Chen, Tesla’s vice president of regulatory affairs and associate general counsel. “The dealers, when they’re defeated in the court of public opinion, in the media and in the legislature, they then go to the courts. It’s incredibly hypocritical for dealers to claim simultaneously that the model is illegal and that lawmakers must act to make it illegal", he said.

Why does Tesla want to sell directly? Because regular car dealers don't know enough about EVs, because they make most of their money from service and maintenance while Tesla has decided to not make any money from that part of its operations (so incentives are very different), and because to really explain the benefits of electric cars often means explaining what they do better than gas cars, something that car dealers who also sell gas cars wouldn't want to do.

Via Columbus Dispatch, Green Car Reports

See also: "I'm living proof the Model S is the safest car ever made!"

Tags: Electric Cars | Electric Vehicles | Ohio

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