The Lone-Brain State

I am so happy not to live in Texas where stories like the following are commonplace:

Despite Tesla’s best efforts, the Texas legislature this week opted not to pass a bill which would have allowed the electric automaker to sell cars directly to consumers. Instead, if Tesla wants to sell its highly revered vehicles in the lone star state, it looks like it’s going to have to do it through local franchise dealers, something the company has no intention of doing.

Unfortunately, this is a story we’ve seen play time and time again in many states over the past few years. Tesla, which prefers (read: demands) to sell its cars directly to consumers, is forced to lawyer up and fight against powerful and influential auto dealer lobbyists who want to protect their cash cows.. . . .

The following criticism from Texas state Representative Senfronia Thompson highlights the challenge Tesla is up against.

“It would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first,” Thompson said.

Yes, if only Mr. Tesla came back from the dead to sit down for a nice little tete-a-tete with car dealers, perhaps then they could have hammered out a mutually beneficial agreement.

The losers in all of this, per usual, are the citizens of Texas who continue to have to jump through hoops if they want to purchase what Car and Driver recently called the “Car of The Century.”

Tesla, of course, is the electric car that now boasts it can go 250 miles on a single charge. This is well beyond the range that was previously thought possible for electric cars and now makes it reasonable to expect those cars to go from coast to coast, timing their stops at well-placed charging stations. The fact that the cars cost a small fortune makes them rare, but the latest news is that they will soon have a smaller model that sells for around $35,000, which is not out of reach for a much larger buying public.

The CEO, Elon Musk (not Mr. Tesla!) has insisted that the cars be sold directly to buyers in order to bypass dealers who would tack on unnecessary costs and he has announced that he will make his technology available to other car manufacturers — in order, no doubt, to make electric cars more available to a wider buying public, and to guarantee that there will be more charging stations in this country. He is also building a large plant in Sparks, Nevada (powered by solar energy) to manufacture his batteries in this country rather than to continue to import them from Japan, and the efficiency of his batteries continues to improve. This plant will not only employ a great many people, it will help to reduce the costs of his automobile. He is a very astute business man and is so far ahead of the rest of those who make and sell gas guzzlers that Car and Driver are not exaggerating when they call Tesla the “car of the century.”

But with moron legislators in Texas making decisions like the above, cars like the Tesla will not sell as rapidly as they should — given the benefits they bring with them to the environment — and this is, once again, a sign of short-term self-interest trumping wisdom; steps backwards rather than forward toward solutions to our environmental problems.

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16 thoughts on “The Lone-Brain State

  1. As I recall, Chris Christie’s New Jersey also voted against direct sales. See a pattern here?

      • I see today that Connecticut voted down Tesla and Colorado has only allowed one independent dealer for the state. Yet again, if we want the source of corruption, we need only to follow the money.

  2. Tesla is representative of the future. The cars will find there way into Texas, especially given the wealth of many. Obamacare found its way there and has a huge following, e.g.

    • You obviously need a translation. “Free enterprise” means “let me do whatever I want in the name of higher profits, but screw everybody else.” And “limited government” means “get the government out of my face so I can maximize profits, but club anyone who gets in my way.” I’m surprised you hadn’t come across this!

      • The consumers will find a way to get value, so these legislators are not solving the problem. These cars are not cheap and are fast and elegant. The people who want to buy these cars will buy them.

        The broader issue is one industry using their clout to block another’s progress, be it car dealers, be it solar energy. You need to remember, we used to have an electric trolley system in our country, but the car makers, tire makers and petroleum industry colluded to get rid of them. Only one remained in San Diego for years and about thirty years after the dismantling the others, the big three industries were found guilty of collusion. Sadly, a true story.

      • i have witnessed that here and am sorely disappointed in a few who put a daily profit ahead of helping their fellow man/woman/community. it makes me sad to witness their lack of empathy or compassion. others, however, have stepped forward with unselfish gestures that caused many of us to ‘almost’ cry. our souls cried…

  3. Perhaps an over-bit passionate response to a piece of news in the mechanical engineering Field to warrant much respect. oo

    It’s an interesting Prospect…this whole Tesla technology. Good Batteries, both in theory and recent practice. A peaceful World would much benefit from its promotion and execution on the broadest scale. The greater the better.

    One Problem here. Energy Companies and Nation States.

    What makes it worse is that such Magnetic Technology is supremely vulnerable to Intentional Disruption. Thus, in a World such as we live in, with the pervasive War Mentality and Paranoia, the chances of this Technology ever being broadly applied, is like expecting that the Chicken will some day take flight over the Moon, with the Fox all the while keeping pace against its escape.

    Sorry. Just a Realistic Observation.

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