Tesla Takes on Texas

     Tesla Motors, long considered the name in electric vehicles with its Tesla Roadster, is upping the ante in Texas as it petitions the Capitol to allow for direct selling to consumers.



Inside the Tesla Motors showroom at The Domain in Austin, Texas [1]

            The nearest Tesla Motors showroom is in the Domain; however, due to legal restrictions it is little more than a glorified art gallery.  Because the company is not a franchised dealership, it is currently illegal for the company to sell from this location or to even provide any information about pricing or alternate locations to purchase vehicles [2].

            During the current Legislative session, two bills have been presented (H.B. No. 3351 and S.B. No. 1659) that would allow Tesla to sell their all-electric vehicles to the public [3].  Between permitting the sale of these cars and allowing the expansion of current service centers, the number of jobs created by this legislative change would be beneficial to the state. At the moment, the chances of ever seeing a Tesla roaming the open road is rare as only 400 Texans own either a Roadster or Model S, but the company proposes that this number could jump to 2,000 new owners per year if selling restrictions were removed [2].

Sweetening the deal even further with the promise to bring more vehicle manufacturing to the state, the company may have struck a chord with the Texas ideology of self-reliance and pickup trucks.  Promised manufacturing facilities flaunt the notion of a completely electric pickup truck, but this design could be years away and might face numerous design hurdles to create a pickup comparable to its diesel or gasoline powered competitors [4].

            While the economic future of these cars is still up in the air, a direct customer sales model could be the best, and perhaps only, way to give all-electric vehicles an entry point into the general market [5]. The decision by the current session of the Legislature could help either pave the way for the practical distribution of electric cars or relegate this technology to a niche market of car enthusiasts. 

[1] http://www.teslamotors.com/thedomain

[2] http://www.teslamotors.com/advocacy_texas

[3] http://www.kvue.com/news/Tesla-Motors-CEO-asks-Texas-to-let-him-Direct-Sale-202411051.html

[4] http://cleantechnica.com/2013/04/14/tesla-motors-could-build-electric-pickup-at-new-plant-in-texas/

[5] http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-tesla-ceo-takes-dealer-fight-to-texas-says-he-can-sell-more-cars-20130410,0,1676772.story


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One response to “Tesla Takes on Texas

  1. timsmith204

    With the removal of the legislation, it would be interesting to see if Tesla moves to make Texas a location for installing these new “supercharging” locations [1]. These superchargers are being installed on the east coast, and the idea is that Tesla car owners can park their car, grab a bite to eat, and have their car charged within 30 minutes to an hour [2]. There are a couple unique things that would be interesting enough to make Texas a good case for these superchargers. First, Texas is so spread out that if electrical vehicles are going to take off at all, we need to increase our electrical charging infrastructure. Secondly, these superchargers are powered by solar panels and Texas has plentiful surface solar irradiance, especially in comparison to the east coast. Third, Austin could lead the way in this, as Austin Energy has previously provided substantial subsidies to encourage the installation of electric plug in infrastructure [3]. Lastly, local Austin restaurants could get in on the project so that Tesla superchargers are close by some good local eats. This way, people driving through have an excuse to eat some of our delicious, locally grown food.
    [1] http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger
    [2] http://spaceindustrynews.com/new-tesla-charging-stations-are-opening-on-the-east-coast-of-us/2128/

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