A new bill that passed New Jersey state assembly today could allow Tesla to resume sales there, just two months after a statewide ban went into effect. The state Assembly Consumer Affairs Committee today approved A3216, a bill that lets companies sell their zero-emission cars directly to consumers with certain strings attached. Those include limiting the number of dealerships to four, as well as offering one or more service facilities to make repairs, reports The Star-Ledger.
Sales of Tesla vehicles were banned in the state beginning April 1st, following a decision from the state's Motor Vehicle Commission that prevented direct to consumer sales. Tesla has used that method to sell cars at a set price through its stores, though dealers have rallied against it, arguing that it creates a situation where auto-makers can compete with car dealerships. Tesla's returned fire by saying it doesn't sell its cars through third-parties.
The ban has been called an attack on innovation
The ban was met with ire from Tesla and startup investors like Paul Graham, who said the move was an attack on innovation. Tesla founder Elon Musk said local auto dealers, who have successfully and repeatedly lobbied against the direct sales model, were "subverting" the democratic process.
Ahead of the ban, Tesla had two stores in New Jersey where people could buy its cars. Since then, those locations have served more as showrooms and information centers for potential customers. Actually buying one required a trip to New York or Pennsylvania, where direct sales are still allowed.