N.J. lawmakers move to allow direct Tesla sales in Garden State

Two New Jersey lawmakers are introducing legislation that would allow electric car manufacturer Tesla to keep doing business in the state.

The measure sponsored by Assemblymen Lou Greenwald and Tim Eustace would reverse a Motor Vehicle Commission decision in March that requires all new car sales to go through a dealer.

If other states enacted that direct sales ban, it would have been the death of the company, said Jim Chen, Tesla vice president.

“Our whole mission is to catalyze the market for electric vehicles, and the only way to do that is to introduce this new technology,” Chen said. “It’s the first time this technology has been able to make this much of an inroad into the monopoly that is in our light-duty transportation sector, that is internal-combustion engines.”

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The legislation would allow Tesla to have up to four stores in New Jersey as well as requiring it to maintain a service facility in the state, said Greenwald, D-Camden.

“The legislation represents a common-sense compromise to promote and strengthen our auto industry, promote innovation, encourage environmental protection, and accommodate consumer concerns,” he said.

Tesla’s electric cars can travel up to 280 miles on a single charge.

Not only will that allow consumers to save money on fuel, Greenwald said Thursday, but it will help the state meet clean air standards.

He’s hoping lawmakers pass the bill and that Gov. Chris Christie would sign it. The governor’s office says Christie does not comment on legislation until it gets a thorough review.

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