Michigan is the latest state to try to put a spoke in Tesla’s wheel. Legislation that would prevent the company from directly selling its EVs has passed both of the state’s legislative chambers and has been sent to Republican Governor Rick Snyder. “Right now the governor’s office is evaluating the bill, and there has not been a decision to sign it or not sign it as of yet,” said a spokesman for the governor.
When H.B. 5606 was introduced in May, it had nothing to do with Tesla, according to Daniel Crane, a University of Michigan law professor. The anti-Tesla language was quietly added to the bill when it was sent to the Senate in October.
James Chen, Tesla’s VP of Regulatory Affairs, told The Wall Street Journal that he met with Michigan leaders in Lansing to discuss the legislation. “We are playing a game of Whack-A-Mole in every state.” Chen said the bill wouldn’t even allow the company to have a gallery featuring its cars, a restriction that goes beyond measures taken in other states.
Professor Crane wrote in a letter to the governor’s office that car dealers should have to compete in a free market like anyone else. “Most fundamentally, they should not be able to get away with sneaking amendments into bills at the last minute in a way that precludes fair and open discussion of what they know is a highly controversial issue.”