Joe Landsdown

Wed Feb 12 2014 00:25:55 GMT+0000 (Coordinated Universal Time)

It's déjà vu all over again, again! Auto dealers have been fighting Tesla Motors on multiple fronts for a while now, trying to either force them to do business with the traditional sales model, or be prohibited from selling their products in certain states (where's free enterprise now?). We've seen this battle take place in various forms in Texas, North-Carolina, Massachusetts, New York, and Ohio.

Well, Ohio's dealers and their lobbyists are apparently at it again.

At [the auto dealers] request, Ohio lawmakers are trying to put the brakes on Tesla Motors' business in the state. Auto dealers argue the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles violated a rule requiring a dealership to have a contract with a car manufacturer when it allowed Tesla to sell cars in Ohio. Senate Bill 260 would explicitly prohibit the BMV from issuing dealer licenses to manufacturers.

Not too surprisingly, the auto dealers organization has contributed more than $100,000 to Ohio state lawmakers in 2013, according to public records.

Why does Tesla want to sell directly? Because regular car dealers don't know enough about EVs, because they make most of their money from service and maintenance while Tesla has decided to not make any money from that part of its operations (so incentives are very different), and because to really explain the benefits of electric cars often means explaining what they do better than gas cars, something that car dealers who also sell gas cars wouldn't want to do.

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