Amsterdam: Model S @ Tesla Store

The ongoing dealer fight against Tesla Motors in a number of states continues to evolve, with two bits of news out of Ohio and New Jersey this week. There is good news and, well, good news. And then there's lots more news.

In Ohio, the automaker won a compromise bill that won't exactly let Tesla to do whatever it wants, but it will let the company's two existing stores stay open and a third to come online. Tesla sent AutoblogGreen a statement from Diarmuid O'Connell, VP of corporate and business development, on the situation there:

We're pleased with the compromise reached in the Senate Committee to amend SB 260 to allow Ohio residents to continue to purchase electric vehicles directly from Tesla at our two existing stores and one additional location in Ohio. Tesla stores are essential to educating customers about electric vehicle technology and building a mass market for EVs. We look forward to continuing to provide our Ohio customers with the full Tesla experience and to further investing in the state by employing Ohioans both directly at our stores and service centers, and through our Ohio-based suppliers of parts and components.

Meanwhile, over in New Jersey, Assemblyman Tim Eustace introduced legislation that would reverse the ban on Tesla stores in that state. On Facebook, the EV-driving Assemblyman wrote, "We need to attract companies that will create jobs and promote economic growth. If the governor is unwilling, then the Legislature will get it done." You can read the proposed bill here.

Also, coinciding with the announcement of the new titanium underbody shields for the Model S, the NHTSA said it has closed its investigation into three Model S fires and said that, "A defect trend has not been identified."

With the political landscape constantly changing, lots of editorial voices are joining the discussion. As The New York Times editorial board says, "the fight with Tesla is not really about this niche company" and basically comes to the same conclusion we did the other day: "Instead of fighting Tesla, dealers should be improving customer service." Possible 2016 presidential candidate Marco Rubio (R-FL) also jumped into the fray, saying on CNBC that he has no problem with Tesla's business model. You can see a clip of that below as well as a short video of a Model S delivery staging area in Europe.

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Eustace Introduces Bill to Allow Direct Sale of Electric Cars in NJ

Legislation intends to rectify shortsighted decision by Christie administration to ban the sale of electric cars in New Jersey which hinders consumer choice & economic growth

(TRENTON) - Assemblyman Tim Eustace (D-Bergen/Passaic) has introduced a bill to allow consumers in New Jersey to buy electric cars directly from a manufacturer. The bill looks to remedy a recent decision by the state Motor Vehicle Commission (MVC) that hurts business in the state by banning Tesla Motors Inc. and other electric car retailers from selling directly to consumers.

The decision has been widely panned, but defended by the governor.

"Because of this new rule, an interested buyer looking for more fuel-efficient, environmentally-friendly vehicle options can go look and ask questions about an electric car in New Jersey, but will have to go to Pennsylvania or New York if he or she actually wants to buy the car," said Eustace. "How does sending business to other states help New Jersey's economy?"

The bill (A-2986) amends current law to allow any motor vehicle franchisor who manufactures electric motor vehicles to directly buy an electric motor vehicle from, and directly sell, offer to sell, or deal an electric motor vehicle to a consumer, if the manufacturer is licensed by the MVC.

Earlier this month, the Motor Vehicle Commission, made up of Gov. Christie's cabinet members and appointees, voted unanimously to require that all new vehicle sales go through franchised retail dealers. The vote effectively bans Tesla Motors from selling their cars directly to consumers from their two showroom locations at the Garden State Plaza and The Mall at Short Hills.

Tesla Founder and Chairman Elon Musk has said the company's New Jersey stores will become galleries where staff can answer questions, but not discuss price or complete a sale, and that potential buyers will be directed to locations in Manhattan and King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.

"The governor talks a big game about attracting innovative businesses to the state, but this move does the exact opposite. As criticism has mounted, the governor has tried to point the finger at the Legislature, but no one's buying it. We need to attract companies that will create jobs and promote economic growth. If the governor is unwilling, then the Legislature will get it done," said Eustace.

Eustace, who drives an electric car himself, is a proponent of electric cars because of the long-term benefits they provide consumers and the environment, and has sponsored a number of bills to help the electric car industry flourish in New Jersey. This bill is his latest effort.