Tesla Motors has been fighting to sell cars in many states, but has come up against laws prohibiting the electric automaker to exercise its direct-to-consumer business model. Such has been the case in Pennsylvania. Recently, though, Tesla worked out a deal with the Pennsylvania senate to approve a bill allowing five Tesla stores in the state, with the blessing of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. The bill, though crafted with Tesla in mind, doesn't specifically name the California-based company.
That bill made it to the desk of Governor Tom Corbett last month, who signed it into law, opening the door for Tesla to sell more cars in the state. The legislation exempts electric vehicles from a law that bars manufacturers from opening their own dealerships. Nathan Spade, senior aide to the bill's sponsor Senator John Rafferty, called the bill "a means to provide the consumer with another option" and "a positive addition to the marketplace in Pennsylvania."
Two members of the state House voted against the bill: Representatives Mark Gillen and Daryl Metcalfe, both Republicans. Gillen explains that he felt the bill gave Tesla special treatment, which goes against his free-market values.
In addition to allowing Tesla to open new stores in the state, the new law also officially legitimizes the automaker's current store in the King of Prussia Mall, about which there have questions concerning legality. It isn't clear if the Board of Motor Vehicle Manufacturers approved that store in 2013 made a mistake, but that point appears to be moot now. Tesla also currently has plans to open a store in Devon, PA.
Tesla still has some pretty big barriers to contend with in other states, though. In Texas, New Jersey, Maryland, Virginia and Arizona, for example. The battle continues between the automaker and dealership associations.