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Dealers Try to Boot Tesla From Georgia Over Technicality While Tesla Plans Nevada “Gigafactory”

"What the Hell is a gigafactory!?" -Marty McFly to Elon Musk.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 5.14.17 PM

The Georgia Automobile Dealers Association doesn’t like electric car maker Tesla Motors cutting out the middleman and selling directly to consumers. I wonder why that is? So they’re crying foul on a rule that limits the number of cars Tesla can sell in a year. Meanwhile, Nevada is laughing all the way to the bank (screw electricity. I want one of these laugh-powered cars that Nevada is getting) as Tesla prepares to build a huge factory there.

The GADA claims that Tesla is violating the exception that allows the automaker to sell cars directly to customers, because it imposes a maximum of 150 cars sold per year on custom car manufacturers, and Tesla has sold over that number. Further, the association argues that Tesla shouldn’t qualify for the “custom manufacturer” stipulation, because their cars are mass produced.

Bill Morie, president of the GADA, said to Automotive News, “New-vehicle dealers just want a level playing field on which to complete. No one should be allowed to act as if they are above the law, especially when there is a simple path to compliance that everyone else has agreed to follow.” The dealers have started a petition to shut Tesla down, because that “path to compliance” entails—you guessed it—selling through franchised dealers.

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In response, Tesla claims that no violation of Georgia law has been made, because the 150-car limit applies per calendar year, and the petition shows 173 vehicles sold from October to June. Simon Sproule of Tesla told Automotive News, “[The petition] is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt to stifle new innovation and eliminate consumer choice by trying to establish a monopoly that restricts the way consumers can buy new vehicles.”

Georgia’s loss is Nevada’s gain—well, not literally, but man are the two states having different reactions to Tesla. Maybe Nevada loves them so much because the giant “gigafactory” they’re building there will spend $4-5 billion in construction costs and employ 6,500 people? Yeah, that probably has something to do with it.

The factory will allow Tesla to substantially lower the cost of their batteries, which is something they need to do to get their mass-market appealing Model 3 down to an appropriate price point. With the new factory lowering costs and making the Model 3 even more appealing, Georgia might want to get used to Tesla, because it doesn’t look like they’re going anywhere.

(via Ars Technica and USA Today, image via Tesla Motors)

Previously in Elon Musk’s futuristic companies

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