Arizona's Nine Congressmen Ask Tesla to Open Arizona Plant, Though Its Cars Can't Be Sold Here
All nine U.S. Representatives from Arizona signed on to a letter to Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk, asking that the company open its new factory in Arizona.
Telsa plans on opening its "Gigafactory" to mass-produce batteries for its electric vehicles, and Arizona's one of four states the company's considering. Arizona's nine congressmen write to Musk, "We are committed to working together at every level of government to foster a prosperous environment in our state so companies like Tesla Motors can thrive."
One small detail that's left out of the congressmen's letter is that Arizona's one of the few states where Tesla's cars can't be legally sold.
Tesla doesn't operate like Ford or Chevy when it comes to sales (it doesn't operate like Ford or Chevy in many regards, but this is about sales).
Tesla doesn't have franchised dealers anywhere but rather owns its retail locations.
Musk has argued that franchise dealers have a "fundamental conflict of interest" by also selling gasoline cars.
"It is impossible for them to explain the advantages of going electric without simultaneously undermining their traditional business," he's explained. "This would leave the electric car without a fair opportunity to make its case to an unfamiliar public."
In Arizona, it's illegal for factories to sell vehicles directly to consumers. That's why Tesla's sales presence is reduced to a "gallery" at Scottsdale Fashion Square. Arizonans can order one online or on a trip to California, but you can't buy a Tesla like you would any other vehicle in Arizona.
So, Arizona hasn't been too "prosperous" for Tesla so far.
At the state Legislature, Republican Representative John Kavanagh introduced a bill to specifically change this. It was never given a committee hearing, and is most likely dead for this year.
Comically, one of the other three states named a finalist for this factory is Texas -- another one of the very few states that has a law similar to Arizona's, precluding Tesla's sales model.
According to some documentation from Tesla, the company picked these sites due to needs a large amount of land area, plus sources of solar and wind energy. That makes the four finalists -- Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas -- logical choices. It just so happens that the company can't sell its cards in two of those states.
Despite that one minor detail, you can read the rest of the 2 1/2-page argument from Arizona's congressmen by clicking here.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.
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