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Sat May 25, 2013, 09:00 PM

Automaker Tesla takes fight to North Carolina

Source: AP-Excite

By CHRIS KARDISH

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) - Tesla Motors is fighting a bill in North Carolina that would effectively ban the company from selling its electric cars in the state, pitting it against auto dealers who say the car maker has an unfair advantage selling directly to consumers online.

It's the latest such battle for California-based Tesla, which like other car manufacturers must navigate a patchwork of state laws dictating how its vehicles can be sold. Nearly all states - 48 - require manufacturers to sell their vehicles through dealerships to ensure the companies don't undercut their own network of franchised dealers, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association.

Tesla says it is cutting out the middleman by allowing people to view different options in a showroom, but then ordering the car direct from the company online rather than buying from a salesman. That approach also allows it to bypass state laws regarding franchised dealers, which have been in place for decades. However, lobbying groups say franchise dealers invest more locally and provide customer service that Tesla cannot.

The bill in North Carolina was mostly routine, simply updating the law governing the relationship between automakers and dealers. But it also changes the law to subject electronic sales to the same scrutiny. It has been unanimously approved by the Senate; the company is set to sit down with the state lobbying group for dealers, the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association, to discuss a compromise that both sides say is unlikely to be reached. .

FULL story at link.


Read more: http://apnews.excite.com/article/20130525/DA6GEG0G0.html

17 replies, 3755 views

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2013, 09:02 PM

1. no oil changes, no tuneup and transmission rip offs. dealers are unhappy nt

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Response to msongs (Reply #1)

Sat May 25, 2013, 09:20 PM

2. If you beleive that electrics are maintainence free, you need help

Ditto & double for anything built by Lotus. In addition, the idea that maintainence is a ripoff has a lot to do with the current sorry state of our country.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #2)

Sat May 25, 2013, 10:56 PM

6. Yikes Mopar. You don't know much about electrics.

Judging from your name, you're a gearhead and don't know much about electrics and obviously have some angst against them. I've been driving and building electric cars for 20 years now.

With an electric car there is only one moving part vs hundreds of moving parts in a gas car. With an electric car you've eliminated 100s of points of failure.

Lotus doesn't make the Tesla. They supplied the Elise body for the Tesla Roadster which is actually stretched version of the Elise with reworked rocker panels but the rest is all built by Tesla including the battery pack and the drive components. The new Model S is all built by Tesla in California. Lotus in not involved in the Model S. I was given a Tesla Model S to test drive for two days. No problems and I charged the car from solar panels on my roof. The car can whip pretty much any gas car off the line. A four-door Model S does mid-12s in the 1/4 mile. We've done this several times with the car at drag strips across the country. Each time we put a Model S on the dragstrip we've pulled 12s with no effort. We're now pushing to get into the 11's.

I organize SCCA AutoCross events for electric cars and we have never had a breakdown on the course and we push the cars to the limits and race them in the pouring rain. As a matter of fact, Nissan came out to our AutoCross race three years ago because it was the first time a Nissan Leaf was raced in an SCCA AutoCross. They wanted to see what the car could do. We had a professional race driver push the car through the course as hard as he could. Some body roll in the really tight corners but the car stayed on course and never overheated or broke down. Same with the Teslas we run through the course. We've never had a breakdown and we push the cars hard in the blistering sun.

We also did the first drag race between two Chevy Volts on an IHRA dragstrip. Both cars did 16 seconds off the showroom floor with amateur drag racers behind the wheel. No breakdowns. We pulled consistent 16s with light charges between runs. No problems.

I've driven tons of Teslas including the new Model S and have driven my own electric Ford Escort for 20 years now. No major problems.

Electric cars are in fact easier to maintain. My electric Ford Escort has never had an oil change in 20 years. LOL. In that time I've changed out the battery pack a couple times and have done some maintenance brake work but no major brake downs and this was a conversion I built myself in my parents carport. NASA let me charge the car where I worked at Goddard Space Flight Center. Most of the time I never charged there. The car made it there and back with no problems.

If the Tesla has a glitch, the car uploads telemetry to Tesla and a service person calls the owner to discuss the repair. Often, it can be repaired without the owner taking it Tesla for repairs. Part of the cost built into the car is for service people to come out to the car if necessary. So far there has not been any major problems with the Tesla. The only big problem was with the 2-speed gearbox with the very first Roadsters a few years ago but they were reengineered and the problem was fixed before production was resumed.

Once you drive a Tesla you won't want to go back to gas. The car I drove had a 240 mile range. The electric car is here to stay. The naysayers can say all they want but it won't stop progress at this point.






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Response to rightsideout (Reply #6)

Sun May 26, 2013, 12:02 AM

7. Dude, listen to yourself

One moving part..... One moving part, he says. That thing got wheels? How about suspension and steering linkage? Antilock brakes, electric power steering, HVAC?
As it happens, I know a fair amount about electrics - ever heard of the Sunrise? I worked with most of the engineering team on several subsequent projects, and I know a bunch of other electric car/alt fuel folks. There is some promising stuff out there, but there's no single, big, magic answer.

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Response to Mopar151 (Reply #7)

Mon May 27, 2013, 12:17 AM

12. Oh come on. How often do you have to replace a wheel?

How often do you have to tweak power steering?

And how often do you have to change oil, oil filters, air filters, replace a muffler, replace a radiator, top off coolant, swap out an alternator, swap out a generator, change plugs, replace a belt?

I've had a Leaf for two years, and haven't been under the hood since the first week I've gotten it. Not even close.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2013, 09:24 PM

3. so if something goes wrong with a tesla who is going to fix it?

got to agree with north carolina on this.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #3)

Sat May 25, 2013, 09:32 PM

4. Clearly better to enforce the position of a sketchy, abusive industry through force of law.

Oh, wait.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #3)

Sun May 26, 2013, 12:48 AM

8. Tesla.

If you believe dealers do an excellent job of warranty repairs, you haven't had to do many warranty repairs.

And if repairs and maintenance was your real concern, that doesn't require a dealership. That requires a repair shop. There's no need to bolt a dealership onto that shop.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #3)

Sun May 26, 2013, 02:57 AM

10. Uh, how about the local auto repair shop?

You don't need a dealer. And Tesla comes to you if there is a problem. We need to think outside the dealership paradigm...because they have generally ripped us off in the past. Don't see why that would not continue now.

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Response to madrchsod (Reply #3)

Mon May 27, 2013, 11:01 PM

16. There you go

God knows there are one whole hell of a lot of folks who
could break an anvil with a rubber mallet.

I'm with madrchsod on this.....I live in NC and know
plenty of........"determined" folks, shall we say.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sat May 25, 2013, 09:49 PM

5. I believe one can purchase a gas engine car online in any state, from any dealer,,, am I wrong?

This is the DU member formerly known as benld74.

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Response to benld74 (Reply #5)

Sun May 26, 2013, 12:49 AM

9. You're technically not purchasing it online.

You're technically not purchasing it until you pick the car up. In which case you are buying it from that dealer in that dealer's state.

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Sun May 26, 2013, 09:12 PM

11. Seems like NC's law violates the interstate commerce clause.

I recall a similar case about wine. http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/16/politics/16cnd-wine.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

There, the states trying to stop internet purchased shipments from out of state to their state had the argument that minors might buy the wine. They still lost. I don't see any legitimate reason for NC's law. Tesla services all of the cars it sells--wherever they are.

As the NYTimes reported on the wine case:

Justice Kennedy wrote today that the real object of the Michigan and New York statutes was not protection of minors but rather to give in-state wineries a competitive advantage over those in other states. Justice Kennedy, who was joined by Justices Antonin Scalia, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen G. Breyer, said New York and Michigan "provide little evidence for their claim that purchasing wine over the Internet by minors is a problem."

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 01:21 AM

13. Interesting take on this. No so much an argument against the car itself, but consumer protection?

Why not have an existing dealer in the state offer repair service?

Dealers don't confine their service department to only working on the brand they sell. I hadn't even thought of that aspect, but it seems like a good idea to work this out.

As far as the interstate commerce clause, that appears to be moot. Along with consumer rights, labor law and environmental standards in states since the WTO overruled state laws made in the seventies and eighties prohibiting goods from sweat shop, prison and child labor.

Far be it from me to say these goppers had a good idea, but this seems fair based on the premise of consumer protection. Of course, it could be what it's been alleged all along, a swipe at alternative vehicles. Here is a picture of a recent model. I'm only interested in practical transport, not luxury, so 'meh':



I don't know if this has changed, but as of 2011, it wasn't union:

Tesla employs over a 1,000 full-time employees and none are represented by labor unions.

As of December 31, 2011, Tesla has 1,417 full-time employees. "452 in manufacturing, 315 in powertrain research and development, 276 in sales, marketing and service, 216 in vehicle design and engineering, and 158 in general and administration."

Of these employees 1,088 are located in the Northern California offices, including the Tesla Factory. 81 are in Los Angeles and 48 are in the UK.


It appears the parts are made abroad and they have very few people making the cars. A good thing is that they expect to have the price of the cars down to about $20K each. A lot more details at this link:

http://www.businessinsider.com/teslas-financial-problems-and-recovery-2013-2?op=1

The technology will help get away from fossil fuels in the future, but IDK about the human or environmental impact now. We are certainly never going to return to the way manufacturing was once done in this country, apparently. This is globalization and bigger than any government. JMHO.



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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 07:51 AM

14. Batteries?

Does anyone know how long the batteries last & how expensive is it to replace them?
This dealership thing reminds me of the Preston Tucker affair back in the 1940's.
He produced 50 state of the art vehicles but was shut down by the courts, via the big 3 auto makers

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 09:17 AM

15. Too much like capitalism, with competition and a different approach

There should not be laws restraining trade in NC or anywhere else. Capitalism is a word that we talk about a lot, but most US businesses really despise the competition capitalism is supposed to bring...

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Response to Omaha Steve (Original post)

Mon May 27, 2013, 11:16 PM

17. +1 for Tesla!

 

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