What a difference a year makes!
A huge victory in New Jersey for consumer choice: We are open for business! @GovChristie— Tesla Motors (@TeslaMotors) March 18, 2015
Governor Christie has signed into law a bill that allows Tesla to sell directly to its customers in the state, bypassing the auto dealers that have been fighting so hard to block the company all around the US (for example, see Texas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Michigan, New York, etc). Of course, there are some strings attached: the Californian EV maker can only open a total of 4 direct sale stores and has to operate at least 1 service center in the state. But that's a big step forward, and with 4 stores, Tesla can cover most of the population centers easily.
This is important for Tesla's continued growth because New Jersey is only behind New York, Florida, and California when it comes to the sale of high-end vehicles, such as the ones that Tesla sells (for now; the more affordable Model 3 is coming in a couple years...).
Last year in March, Elon Musk wrote an open letter defending his direct sales approach and denouncing New Jersey's practices:
Unfortunately, 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. [...]
This is an issue that affects not just Tesla customers, but also New Jersey citizens at large, because Tesla would be unable to create new jobs or participate in New Jersey’s economic revival.
At the same time, neither Tesla nor the taxpayers of New Jersey have been able to participate in any of the analysis or been granted a hearing as requested last year when this was first proposed. Despite being the subject of the regulation, we were only able to obtain information about today’s meeting with less than 24 hours notice and in direct contravention of assurances by the Governor. [...]
We strongly believe it is vital to introduce our own vehicles to the market because electric cars are still a relatively new technology. This model is not just a matter of selling more cars and providing optimum consumer choice for Americans, but it is also about educating consumers about the benefits of going electric, which is central to our mission to accelerate the shift to sustainable transportation, a new paradigm in automotive technology.
Let's hope that this opens the door for other states to change their misguided policies.
Via The Verge