When it comes to Tesla, Washington state is the anti-New Jersey
While New Jersey is kicking Tesla out of the state because of lobbying pressures from auto dealers, the state of Washington is going in the opposite direction: Governor Jay Inslee has signed a bill that explicitly allows the electric car maker to sell its EVs through its own stores in the state. This not only removes uncertainty for Tesla in the state, but it will allow it to expand beyond its 2 showrooms in Seattle and Bellevue.
In a statement, Tesla said that the Washington legislation should serve as a “model solution” for other states. Musk has said on the company's blog that he doesn't want to break up the dealer franchise model, he's just not interested in participating.
But auto dealers are powerful, and while the bill is good for Tesla, it doesn't loosen their grip much for other potential upcoming startups. “The bill clarifies that a manufacturer that held a dealership license as of Jan. 1, 2014, would be exempt from the prohibition on manufacturer ownership,” said Bryan Imai, senior general counsel at the Washington State Auto Dealer Association. Tesla held a dealership license in Washington as of Jan. 1 this year, he said. This means that other new entrants might not be able to sell directly to consumers... But this is another battle for another time.