A deal to allow the electric car maker Tesla to continue selling to Ohio customers came before lawmakers Tuesday. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports it settles a controversy that almost brought the state’s auto dealers into court.
Right now, state law allows the 40 or so manufacturers that sell new cars in Ohio to do so through several hundred dealerships.
Republican State Sen. Tom Patton of Strongsville says his bill grants Tesla permission to keep selling its cars directly to customers at its stores in Columbus and Cincinnati.
“Senate Bill 260 will also allow Tesla to receive a third license to sell directly from the manufacturer," Patton said. "It was thus never the intention of this bill to shut down any company’s operations in the state of Ohio.”
Democratic State Sen. Tom Sawyer of Akron supported the bill, but noted the disparate views that had been expressed on the bill and the legal challenge the auto dealers filed to stop Tesla.
“The kinds of struggles that we have seen below the surface of the water leading up to today’s votes are not unusual and have happened all across the United States," Sawyer said.
There are 37 Tesla showrooms around the country. Tesla sales aren’t allowed in three states and are permitted in four others. In 14 states, Tesla’s sales model is in dispute. This compromise bill was supported by both the auto dealers and Tesla. The bill passed unanimously and now goes to the House.