Democratic lawmakers in the Assembly and Senate introduced legislation Monday that would allow for electric car consumers in New Jersey to purchase the vehicles directly from a manufacturer as opposed to through a licensed dealer.
The bills, sponsored by Assemblyman Timothy Eustace (D-Paramus) and state Sen. Shirley Turner (D-Ewing), are a direct response to a recent decision by the state Motor Vehicle Commission mandating that all new vehicle purchases in New Jersey must be done through licensed dealers, effectively banning electric carmaker Tesla from the state by disallowing its direct-sales business model.
Tesla currently operates showrooms in Paramus and Short Hills but company chairman Elon Musk has said in light of the state's decision, the stores will soon be forced to become informative galleries and all potential customers will be directed instead to locations in New York and Pennsylvania.
"Because of this new rule, an interested buyer looking for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicle options can go look and ask questions about an electric car in New Jersey but will have to go to Pennsylvania or New York if he or she actually wants to buy the car," Eustace, an electric car driver, said. "How does sending business to other states help New Jersey's economy?"
Both Eustace and Turner note that by eliminating Tesla's presence in the state through regulation, the economy will suffer.
"The Christie administration's ban on direct sales will take a real toll on the state's economic future and its environment," Turner said. "We should be attracting a new industry like electric cars to New Jersey and supporting customers who are looking for environmentally-friendly vehicles, not standing in their way and sending them to other states to spend their money."
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