Tesla just recently opened a new factory in Texas, the company moved its official headquarters to the Lone Star State, CEO Elon Musk is living in various areas around Austin and Boca Chica, as SpaceX's Starbase is located in the latter. Regardless of all of this, Tesla's vehicles are excluded from Texas' Light-Duty Motor Vehicle Purchase or Lease Program.
According to Teslarati, Texas' program covers 142 different models from almost every automaker aside from Tesla. To be clear, we're not just talking about inexpensive cars either. The list has some 15 Audis, 22 BMWs, 17 Porsches, and many more. The publication even points out that there are a few Bentleys on the list. Obviously, the program isn't just reserved for fully electric cars, but rather electrified models. A few other low-emissions powertrains are also covered. You can check out the full list by following the link below:
Why is Tesla missing from the list? Texas still doesn't allow people to legally buy a Tesla in Texas due to franchised dealer laws. Some folks figured that once the US electric automaker opened a factory in the state, the laws might change, but that hasn't proven true. Meanwhile, Tesla is creating jobs, encouraging people to move to the area, offering to help with the state's again power grid, and much more.
A spokesperson from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality – the organization responsible for the program – Laura Lopez shared via Teslarati:
“The program currently requires that eligible vehicles must be purchased or leased from a licensed new vehicle dealer or leasing company in Texas. Under Texas law, vehicles purchased directly from the manufacturer or an out-of-state dealer not licensed to sell or lease new vehicles in Texas are not eligible for a rebate.”
Looking at the situation from Texas' side, that state doesn't actually make it illegal to sell a Tesla vehicle. Rather, Tesla doesn't and won't use franchised dealers to sell its cars, which it could choose to do. Since the electric car maker chooses to sell its cars direct to consumers, its EVs are ineligible for the program. A spokesperson on behalf of the Texas Automobile Dealers Association Jennifer Stevens explained:
“Texas franchised dealer laws protect competition and provide the most efficient and effective delivery model for new and used car sales in Texas. The current system works well for Texas and Texans."
Currently, Tesla must build its cars in Texas and then ship them out of the state to be sold to Texans, after which they'll return to the state in possession of their new owner. It seems since people can and will buy the cars either way, the old law could use some updating. However, this type of situation is still happening in other states due to similar franchised dealer rules.
In 2021, Republican state representative Cody Harris tried to get a bill passed that would provide an exception for Tesla, but it failed. Nonetheless, he believes Tesla will continue to be successful despite any incentive situation. Tesla sales in Michigan, which has similar rules that don't favor the EV maker, haven't taken a hit.
What do you think of Texas' plans? Should an exception be made for Tesla? Should Tesla do something on its end to abide by the state's laws in order to qualify for the program?