Fast-moving electric car company Tesla Motors has scored a major win in New Jersey, US, with Governor Chris Christie signing a bill that permits the Palo Alto-based carmaker to open up to four stores in the Garden State.
The backflip comes almost a year after New Jersey passed regulation that effectively banned Tesla from selling its fully electric cars direct to customers rather than through traditional third-party dealerships.
Despite a range that includes just one model (Tesla Model S sedan in two-wheel drive and all-wheel drive) Tesla continues to gain momentum, with 2015 sales expected to reach 50,000 units, though, still not meeting global demand.
The New Jersey decision is an important play for Tesla with its cars ranging in price from $US60,000 to US$120,000, as it represents the US’ fourth-largest luxury car market, behind New York, Florida and home state California.
Bans are still active in Arizona, Michigan, Texas and Virginia – though according to a report by The Verge, law makers in those states are working on legislation that repeal the laws.
Outspoken Tesla CEO, Elon Musk, argues that electric vehicles are still new technology and require a different sales technique addressing the benefits of electrically-powered cars and, as such, should not be bound by standard automobile sales practices that tend to upsell customers into more expensive vehicles.
“This [sales] model is not just a matter of selling more cars and providing optimum consumer choice for Americans, but it is also about educating consumers about the benefits of going electric,” he said.
“[That kind of education] is central to our mission to accelerate the shift to sustainable transportation, a new paradigm in automotive technology,” Musk added.
Tesla will launch a second model (Model X – SUV) in 2016, which is expected to drive sales even further.