Regarding “Push is on for more EV stores in New York state,” published Sept. 10 in the Union-Sun & Journal: Tesla is the main target of New York’s current law, enacted in 2014, that prohibits direct sales by car manufacturers. That includes deliveries – a particular inconvenience and disincentive. A Lockport resident who orders a new Tesla has to drive 375 miles to Tesla’s nearest sales location downstate to pick up their car. How absurd is that?
Since Tesla accounts for 72% of fully electric vehicles on the road in New York (according to NYSERDA), limiting its ability to reach customers and deliver their cars seriously harms the push to green our transportation sector. And any other EV maker selling direct — such as Rivian — would be locked out entirely from selling or delivering cars in the state.
Tesla’s five sales and delivery stores, all downstate, were grandfathered in when the restrictive franchise-only law was passed in 2014. Currently the EV maker evades that restriction by opening galleries where prospective buyers can see the cars, take test drives and talk with advisers, but cannot buy or take delivery there.
New York is far from the only state that limits or bans direct sales by car manufacturers in order to protect auto dealerships. Ten states outright ban direct sales and eight limit the number of sales/delivery locations. Tesla just got around New Mexico’s ban on having even a service center in the state by building one on tribal land. A Tesla car that will be manufactured in Texas, at the company’s new factory outside Austin, will have to be trucked to another state where a Texan buying it can pick it up. How absurd is that?
Mitigating global warming requires that we encourage new vehicles and new ways of doing business. Until sales restrictions are lifted and electric vehicles become more widely available, affordable and supported with ample charging infrastructure, new gas cars must at least be a cleaner choice. The Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Transportation have the opportunity to reset the transportation landscape by enacting stringent Clean Car Standards. President Biden should insist that vehicle pollution limits and fuel economy standards will be as strong as possible.
We cannot afford to keep absurd rules that kneecap our fight against the climate crisis.
SANDRA EBERT, Buffalo