Tag Archive | "Tesla"

Tesla-Friendly Bill Resurrected in Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. — The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, along with General Motors and Alliance Auto Manufacturers, held a joint press conference on Tuesday to speak out against proposed legislation that would allow electric carmakers to circumvent state franchise laws and sell directly to consumers.

A public hearing was scheduled for today to discuss Senate Bill 3, which was introduced by state Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff last month. The measure, which is currently being considered by the state’s Transportation Committee, mirrors legislation passed late last year by the state’s House of Representatives. However, the proposal was passed too late in the legislative session and died because of Senate inaction.

If the current measure is approved by the Connecticut General Assembly, it would allow electric vehicle makers to sell directly to consumers at up to three locations as long as they don’t have a franchise agreement with any existing dealer. Currently, the only manufacturer that qualifies is Tesla Motors.

“What we want to make sure we have is one set of regulations for everybody who’s going to compete in this marketplace,” said Landon Fulmer, vice president of state affairs for the Alliance of Auto Manufacturers in an op-ed piece published in The Connecticut Mirror. “We don’t need carve-outs, we don’t need loopholes. We need to make sure everybody plays by the same rules.”

Dealerships in the state are required to apply for a dealer’s licenses in order to sell vehicles in the state; manufacturers are barred from unfairly competing with a dealer and selling directly to a consumer.

“The franchise system works,” Fleming said. “It’s efficient. It’s competitive. It understands the local market.”

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FTC Calls on States to Lift Direct-to-Consumer Sales Bans

LANSING, Mich. — The debate over whether motor vehicle manufacturers should be allowed to sell directly to consumers in the state has resurfaced after last year’s passage of a law that added tighter restrictions on direct-to-consumer sales. This time, the Federal Trade Commission has weighed in.

Reigniting the debate over direct-to-consumer sales of motor vehicles is a bill, S.B. 268, introduced on April 15 by Sen. Darwin L Booher (R-Evart, Mich.). The legislation, which is currently being considered by the Senate’s economic development committee, would allow Elio Motors and other manufacturers of three-wheel “autocycles,” to choose whether to sell directly to consumers, through dealers or through a combination of the two.

The legislation comes after last October’s controversial passage of legislation that was originally intended to prohibit vehicle OEMs from dictating fees a franchised dealer can charge customers. But thanks to a procedural loophole, state lawmakers were able to toss in a last-minute amendment without public comment or debate. And that amendment reinforced the state’s prohibition on selling vehicles directly to consumers, effectively banning Palo Alto, Calif.-based Tesla Motors, which called the law a “raw deal.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder urged lawmakers after signing the bill to discuss whether the franchise system and the state’s ban on direct-to-consumer sales were good for state consumers. “We should always be willing to re-examine our business and regulatory practices with an eye toward improving the customer experience for our citizens and doing things in a more efficient and less costly fashion,” he said at the time.

In January, Elio Motors rolled into Michigan to show off its new autocycle. Booher introduced his measure after Elio announced plans to build its three-wheelers at a former General Motors Plan in Shreveport, La., starting next year. He also requested comment from the Federal Trade Commission.

The federal agency responded in an 11-page letter issued to Sen. Booher on May 7. In the regulator’s view, according to the letter, “the bill does not go far enough.” It was signed by Marina Lao, director of the Office of Policy Planning, Deborah Feinstein, director of the Bureau of Competition, and Francine Lafontaine, Director of the Bureau of Economics.

“Rather, the narrow scope of the bill would largely perpetuate the current law’s protectionism for independent franchised dealers, to the detriment of Michigan car buyers,” read the letter, in part. “FTC staff believes Michigan’s consumers would more fully benefit from a complete repeal of the prohibition on direct sales by all manufacturers, rather than the enactment of any limited, selected set of exceptions.”

The FTC did not offer an opinion on whether the franchise model was superior or inferior to direct-to-consumer sales, but it did urge Michigan lawmakers to allow consumers to choose which vehicle they want and how to buy them.

The letter also noted that Elio Motors has accepted more than 41,000 reservations for its vehicle as of March 29. The company, the letter continued, also plans to have Pep Boys handle warranty service, as Elio does not intend to establish a dealer network.

On May 11, the FTC posted a blog authored by Lao, Feinstein and Lafontaine. It called on other states to lift bans on direct-to-consumer sales of motor vehicles. “FTC staff supports the movement to allow for direct sales to consumers — not only Tesla and Elio, but for any company that decides to use that business model to distribute its products,” the blog postread, in part. “Blanket prohibitions on direct manufacturer sales to consumers are an anomaly within the larger economy.

“Protecting dealers from abuses by manufacturers does not justify a blanket prohibition like that in the current Michigan law, which extends to all vehicle manufactures, even those like Tesla and Elio who have no interest in entering into a franchise agreement with any dealer.”

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Tesla Shares Get Late Boost on April Fool’s Press Release

Shares of Tesla Motors Inc. jumped and trading volume surged in the final minutes of trading on Wednesday after the electric car maker issued a press release proclaiming the launch of a new product that turned out to be an April Fool’s Day prank, reported Reuters.

With about five minutes remaining in the trading day, the company posted a statement on its official website under the headline: “Announcing the Tesla Model W.”

In the following minute, the stock jumped about $1.50 or about 0.75 percent from its level the moment before to as high as $188.50.

Nearly 400,000 shares traded in that time, and it was the heaviest one minute of trading volume in the stock since the opening 60 seconds of trading on Feb 12.

Tesla shares quickly retraced most of that upward move and ended the session at $187.59, down 0.63 percent from Tuesday’s close.

The Tesla statement appeared to be a parody of the recent announcement by Apple Inc. that it was launching a computerized wrist watch product later this month called the Watch.

The first paragraph said: “Tesla today announced a whole new product line called the Model W. As many in the media predicted, it’s a watch. That’s what the “W” stands for.”

“This is in no way a competitive response to what some other company is doing,” the release concluded.

Reuters and at least one other news organization published headlines based on the statement.

“We have withdrawn the headlines and regret putting out the material,” a Reuters spokeswoman said.

Tesla said in an email that the statement was an April Fool’s Day prank. The announcement was one of two April Fool’s Day pranks produced by Tesla on Wednesday. The other included a video promoting a new self-driving car that helps owners of its Model S vehicles to evade traffic and parking tickets.

A spokeswoman for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission declined to comment.

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Ga. Legislators Table Tesla Bill

ATLANTA — A subcommittee of the House Motor Vehicles Committee voted March 4 to table House Bill 393, which would have allowed Tesla to continue selling its electric vehicles directly to Georgia’s residents. The state’s dealers were behind the move to freeze the bill, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

Georgia law typically prohibits manufacturers from selling directly to consumers, except for up to 150 customer-made vehicles annually. Tesla sold nearly 500 cars in the state last year, mostly via online orders, which it says should not be included in the 150-vehicle cap. Dealers claim Tesla is violating state law by selling outside of the dealer system.

To read the full story, click here.

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Tesla’s Elon Musk: Hydrogen Fuel Cell-Powered Vehicles Are ‘Silly’

DETROIT – Speaking in the Motor City on Tuesday, electric carmaker Tesla Motors’ co-founder and CEO Elon Musk again dismissed hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars as irrational, reported MLive.

“I just think they’re extremely silly,” he told reporters at Automotive News’ annual World Congress. His comments came on the same day Honda Motor Co. showed off its latest advancements in hydrogen fuel cell technology with its FCV concept at the 2015 North American International Auto Show. Toyota is also proudly displaying its production model, hydrogen fuel cell-powered Mirai at the show.

Musk argued that hydrogen acts as an energy storage unit, not a source of it, making it impractical for powering vehicles. He called drawing hydrogen from water “an extremely inefficient” process.

“If you’re going to pick an energy storage mechanism, hydrogen is just an extremely dumb one to pick,” Musk said.

He added, “The best-case hydrogen fuel cell case doesn’t win against the current-case batteries. So then obviously it doesn’t make sense. That will become apparent in the next few years. There’s no reason for us to have this debate. I’ve said my piece on this. It will be super obvious as time goes by.”

In addition to co-founding Tesla Motors, Musk, 43, helped launch and is currently the CEO of SpaceX, is chairman of SolarCity, and is a co-founder of PayPal.

He told reporters Tuesday that with Tesla he spends most of his time as an engineer and product architect.

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Volkswagen’s Audi Aims to Launch Two Electric Vehicles by 2018: CEO

Volkswagen’s premium Audi division aims to bring two purely electric vehicles to market by 2018 as it tries to catch up with rivals such as Tesla Motors and BMW, reported Reuters.

Audi’s Chief Executive Rupert Stadler told German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an interview to be published on Saturday that the launch of an electric sports car and a sports activity vehicle (SAV) were under way.

An excerpt of the article was made available to Reuters on Friday.

The SAV would be a four-wheel drive with a range of more than 500 km (310 miles) per battery load, Stadler said.

He also told FAZ that Audi’s push to develop electronic drive and digital technologies would mean the division adding 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) to its investments by 2019. Audi’s investment budget through 2018 amounts to 22 billion.

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