Legislation that would have opened the door to a half-dozen Tesla dealerships in North Carolina has been put on hold less than 24 hours after it emerged in a Senate committee.
In other Tesla news, the company is considering building a new production plant in China.
In the General Assembly, lobbyists for automobile dealers and manufacturers, who were at odds over the bill, said they expect it has been shelved for the rest of this waning legislative session. Sen. Trudy Wade, R-Guilford, who co-chairs the Senate Committee on Commerce and Insurance, said there were just too many questions about the bill to move forward.
Wade said that doesn’t guarantee it’s gone for the session, but she said people needed more time to read and discuss the bill, reports WRAL.com’s Travis Fain.
“I think it was moving a little fast,” she said.
The bill debuted publicly in Wade’s committee on Wednesday. A lobbyist for the auto manufacturers said he saw it for the first time late last week after Tesla, which makes electric vehicles, and representatives of the auto dealership industry negotiated it.
State law generally forbids manufacturers from selling direct to customers, requiring them to sell through a third-party dealer. Tesla has pressed that issue in North Carolina and in other states, seeking to sell direct. It has one sales facility in Raleigh, but state auto dealers objected when it tried to add a second in Charlotte.
The compromise bill would give Tesla six exemptions to the state’s dealership requirements. If the issue is not addressed this session, it’s a good bet the matter comes back up during the next one.
“We continue to push to expand our locations in North Carolina and advocate for consumers who want the option to buy electric vehicles throughout the state. In the meantime, we continue to serve our customers in North Carolina at our Raleigh and Charlotte facilities while we work to expand and grow these operations through the legislature and the courts,” a Tesla spokesperson said in an email to WRAL News.
- Tesla in talks to open a factory in China
Tesla is talking to the city of Shanghai about opening a factory there to serve the Chinese market.
Tesla’s revenue from China tripled to more than $1 billion last year, or 15 percent of total revenue.
The electric car maker says it expects to define its plans more clearly by the end of the year.
Tesla Inc. currently has one vehicle assembly plant in California, but CEO Elon Musk said earlier this month that plant is “bursting at the seams.” He said Tesla is actively considering three other plant sites.
In a news release Thursday, Tesla said it expects most production to remain in the U.S., but wants to establish local factories to ensure that its vehicles are affordable overseas. Chinese Tesla buyers currently have to pay import duties.