Dealers Support, GM Opposes Bill to Allow Tesla Sales in Maryland

Jeff Cadman arrives in Annapolis to support bill to allow Tesla to sell electric cars in Maryland.
Model S driver Jeff Cadman arrives in Annapolis to support bill to allow Tesla to sell electric cars in Maryland.

Yesterday, I joined Bob Erdman and Jeff Cadman in Annapolis to show support for Maryland House Bill 235. This bill, introduced by Delegate Kirill Reznik of Montgomery County, would allow Tesla and other qualifying Electric Vehicle manufacturers to sell cars directly to consumers. Currently, Tesla is limited by state law from any sales activity including discussing price with potential buyers.

Jeff and Bob both own a Tesla Model S. In his letter to the committee, Jeff noted that when visitors to the Tesla Gallery in Montgomery Mall ask for pricing and ordering information, the employees have to refer them to the Tesla website. “The situation is both confusing for the customers and frustrating for the employees.”

Bob told the committee that he had to go to Washington, DC to discuss price and order his car. He explained why he thought it is important to allow manufacturers of electric vehicles such as Tesla to directly represent and sell the cars they make. “It takes an extra effort to educate the potential buyer of this new technology.” See his testimony at 25:55 into the video.

Jen Brock-Cancellieri, Deputy Director, Maryland League of Conservation Voters also testified in support of the bill. She said, “This bill will encourage the sale of more electric vehicles in Maryland.” She added that the current law is bad news for the state because it is limiting the electric vehicle market.

The Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, unlike the dealers associations in some other states, has been cooperative. They have worked together with the bill’s sponsor to agree to allow a limited number of Tesla dealerships in the state. Delegate Reznik proposes allowing Tesla to have up to six locations in Maryland. The President of the Maryland Dealers Association testified in support of the bill with amendments.

The only ones to appear in opposition to the bill were two attorneys representing General Motors. GM wants the bill to limit Tesla to the two facilities that they currently have in Maryland, the Gallery in Montgomery Mall and the Service Center in Rockville. You can watch the testimony from GM starting at 36:30 on the video.

This bill still has a long way to go. Next, it will be sent to a subcommittee and then back to the Environment and Transportation Committee to vote. If you’d like to speak up, it’s not too late. The members of the House Environment and Transportation Committee are listed here.

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