West Virginia Bans Tesla Sales


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Add West Virgina to the growing list of states that Tesla Motors can’t sell its electric cars in.

Late last week, this news surfaced:

“West Virginia Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin today signed legislation that will effectively prevent Tesla Motors Inc. from selling cars in the strategically located state.”

“Debate over the measure lasted several weeks in the state Legislature. Senate President Bill Cole, a longtime auto dealer in West Virginia and Kentucky, supported the bill.”

Tesla tried to push for an amendment to the bill, but its efforts failed:

“Tesla lobbyists visited West Virginia to amend a bill that was written to clarify responsibilities between automakers and their franchised dealers, Ruth Lemmon, president of the West Virginia Automobile & Truck Dealers Association, said in an e-mailed statement today, noting it was not an “anti-Tesla” bill.”

“Tesla could better serve the consumers, the local communities and their product by becoming a true business partner to all concerned,” she wrote. “West Virginia would welcome (Tesla) to join the ranks of dealerships and play by the same rules and requirements and laws we must do.”

Automotive News reports:

“The final bill, sent to Tomblin last month, says a manufacturer may not “act in the capacity of a new motor vehicle dealer” or “operate a dealership, including, but not limited to, displaying a motor vehicle intended to facilitate the sale of new motor vehicles other than through franchised dealers, unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in.”

That means that Tesla Motors cannot conduct sales in the state of West Virginia.

Tesla issued a response.  Jim Chen, Tesla’s associate general counsel, stated:

 “West Virginians deserve the right to choose how and from whom they purchase their vehicles.We will return next year to fight for consumer choice and free market access in the 2016 legislate session.”

Source: Automotive News

Categories: Tesla

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67 Comments on "West Virginia Bans Tesla Sales"

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What’s dumb about this is in some areas a Tesla would get to use West Virginia Coal. But now solar power is taking chunks out of power demand in a lot of area. So if West Virginia wants to save their economy they better hope that 200 million cars go electric. So stopping Tesla was a very bad idea.

Considering the burning of coal as a method to ‘save’ a single state’s economy, is a pretty poor choice in a larger global context…

It’s better they clean up their act, and go solar– just like everyone else.

Crappy Bills like this along with a few other pointless and stupid laws are the reason why some places are handicapping themselves for the future.

I was reading a story that West Virginia is suffering form peak coal. In that a hundred years of coal mining has emptied out all the usable coal mines and now they are trying mountain top removal.

What is creepy about this is I did make a science fiction story that is now starting to cross over into science fact that shows what happens to places like West Virginia and other major coal mining along with oil producing areas that become obsolete by solar and wind power along with battery storage.

According to datas from U.S. Energy Information Administration West Virginia has the dirtiest coal mix of all States.
Even So, a Tesla S emits nearly half CO² than a Mercedes S550 equivalent.

Coal is a dying industry. I cannot be saved other than CCS technology but that is too expensive. Trying to save coal is counter-productive. They would be much wiser to develop a phase-out plan and move on to new things.

CCS technology isn’t scalable, at any price. Southern Company has provisioned for losses exceeding 800mm/year, for their efforts in what has to be the leading pilot, Kemper, MS, IGCC.

I agree. I think CCS is basically the coal industries version of fuel cell cars. A promised miracle solution that is always 10 years away from being viable.

Every CCS plant seems to expensive and then go over budget. Once you add CCS, coal can’t compete with wind & solar.

Musk didn’t seem to upset. His tweet had a mocking “Oh no!” in it. West Virginia is a very low income state, not a lot of Tesla buyers. Texas is far more important. He’ll put effort into Texas. I think the resources they will spend on WV will be quite limited.

Ahh Elon Musk mocking future customers.

You mean WV legislators. There is a difference, you may have missed…

Good catch Anon….

Yeah, what will Tesla do without in-state access to the huge West Virginian luxury-car market? Especially that West Virginia sits all alone out in the ocean, with no neighboring states from which you can pick up a Model S.

Just a bunch of idiot politicians who cut their nose to spite their face, while exposing themselves as suck-ups to auto dealerships.

WV (and every state for that matter) will be important if/when the Model 3 arrives.

1. Yes, but by then these politicians are likely to cave, and/or their replacement to change course

2. If not, most WV buyers could still go no more than 1-2 hours drive to a neighboring state and pick up a Model 3.

I think Elon is mocking Tesla-Hater54 and all other Tesla haters!

I found that tweet to be hilarious. But that said, the CEO should not be so snarky.

And not selling Teslas in West Virgnia helps reduce the stupid ‘coal car’ argument. Heck, you can’t even buy this great car in coal country. 😉

Who cares is not new WV live a 100 years behind the other 49, so long way to go before they open their minds to technology.

Strange treating a American company like that, I mean, if you think about it this company created most of it production jobs in US. they should support it not fight it!


When the Model 3 comes out and is the most successfule new car introduction of all time, West Virginia citizens will start to notice that they’ve been deprived access to buying the vehicle locally.

A few will cross state line to make the purchase, their neighbors will figure out what their missing out on, and the legislators will get the message.

It will take a while. But it’s inevitable.

Seriously . . . West Virginia’s protectionism of coal and car dealerships will only serve to hurt themselves. They are getting left behind as the economy moves forward with new technologies and new industries. West Virginia will just be saddled with dying industries.

Pretty sure it’s fear of future Tesla success that drives these efforts to cut Tesla down to size by forcing it into a retail model that was designed around the maintenance needs of ICE vehicles but you’re right: relentless persecution may backfire once people realize that the reason they have to go out of state to get the car they want is some crony capitalist mutual backscratching deal between the cardealer lobby and lawmakers.

It’s only a matter of time…look at New Jersey.

New Jersey is a much wealthier, more sophisticated, more connected state. I would not hold my breath waiting for WV. It’s gonna take a long while.

Yes playing by the same rules that add expense to the final purchase. Supporting a franchise system which is corrupt, at worse criminal and at best merely adding 5%-8% to the cost of each vehicle. But then again WV is all too familiar with crony capitalism. To benefit the few at a cost to the many.

Tesla will have fun with this :

1.Build Tesla “Dealership” in a no-direct-sales state.

2.Apply for Dealer License (knowing it will be denied).

3.Tesla receives FREE news media Tesla marketing over the denied dealer license.

4.Consumers become intrigued about the Tesla “Forbidden Fruit”.

5.Tesla operates the store as a non-sales “Showroom”.

6.Consumers visit the Tesla Showroom and order the Forbidden Fruit directly online.

7.Repeat in next no-direct-sales state.

I was thinking they could get 2 more manufacturers on board and have a permanent “auto show”.

The verbiage of the law would allow it: “unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in.”

I think Bill 453 may allow a Tesla a non-sales display showroom; it gets down to the operative definition of the word “facilitate”.

From the Bill: “(i) A manufacturer may not, except as provided by this section, directly or indirectly:… (B) Operate a dealership, including, but not limited to, displaying a motor vehicle intended to facilitate the sale of new motor vehicles other than through franchised dealers, unless the display is part of an automobile trade show that more than two automobile manufacturers participate in…”

Senate Bill No. 453:

I think you’re right. With this bill, it looks like West Virginia becomes another one of those States (there are already several) where Tesla already does, or will in the future, operate “showrooms”, in which the Tesla reps are not allowed to discuss or facilitate sales in any way with potential customers; they can’t even tell them about Tesla’s website where they can order cars online.

Do they have to be automobiles? What about eBikes?

I’m sure some eBike manufacturers wouldn’t mind getting together to create a “dealership”.

Porsche dealer search for West Virginia:

“There are no dealers that match your search criteria. Please search again.”

Maybe not such a big loss for Tesla…..

…until it needs the build out retail network required to move large numbers of Model Es.

It’s surprising the GOP has such a grip on it’s citizens in this state especially since by most measures the GOP has done nothing for it’s citizens seems to be behind most states in health, education, environment, housing. I don’t get why they would continue support the GOP.

An effort should be made to help coal dependent areas transition toward the inevitable. Instead “they teach him to hate, so he never thinks straight, bout the shape that he’s in, but it ain’t him to blame, he’s only a pawn in a their game.” robert zimmerman

Because guns, god, gays, and abortion. The GOP has been running the demagogue platform for a long time and it has worked for them. But it is running out of steam. They just lost the gays issue . . . in fact it backfires on them now as Mike Pence just learned.

Looks like you fell for this fake manufactured controversy. In this case, the true demagogues are those working to control thoughts and speech by destroying the lives of those they disagree with.


Manufactured controversy it was . . . there was no need for the law. But Mike Pence wanted to throw a bone to the Christian-right base. Apparently he was not prepared for the fact that people are tired of the anti-gay bigotry.

So now any response to gay-lobby activism is “bigotry”? Yes, because the liberals love to control our terminology.

But yet, when you flip the players, that same “bigotry” suddenly becomes “a right”.


The purpose of these word-games is to win the favor of each minority group, and liberal politicians have perfected this very clever technique. None of this so-called “bigotry” is real. You are being played.

I’m not being played . . . I’m just not a bigot.

Jesus said nothing about gay people. Not a single word.

But Jesus said a LOT about divorce. He hated it. He didn’t seem to think it should be allowed. He called remarried divorced people ‘adulterers’.

But do these “Christians” refuse to serve divorced people? Of course not! It is not about being Christian. It is about discriminating against gays because they are icky.

So to summarize…

A gay baker refuses to bake a cake that contains passages from The Bible. You love that.

A Christian pizza baker doesn’t want to attend and cater a gay wedding ceremony. You hate that.

Yet both situations are the same. Your double standards are amazing.

Maybe we should discuss that other popular religion. You know … the one that outlaws homosexuality. The one that kills gay people. The one that liberals (for some reason) never criticize, and usually support.

It’s all politics. You’re being played.

No. Don’t be a liar. I don’t approve of either of those situations. Everyone should serve everyone. I have no problem with a gay-bashing cake.

Just replace “gay” with “black” and you’ll be well on your way to understanding that it’s bigotry, plain and simple. And yes, if you decide to open a public business then your personal beliefs are irrelevant against society’s laws.

Well, Senator Manchin is a Democrat. Big business coal isn’t exactly an ally of the citizenry.

Tony, sorry to rain on your GOP hate-parade, but Gov Tomblin who signed this stupid law is a liberal Democrat. If he was Republican, it would have been mentioned in the article.

I don’t think you can describe any Democrat that is able to remain in major office in the south as ‘liberal’. There certainly still are blue dog Dems though. But liberal they are not.

Remain in office? He just got elected and is only planning to serve one term. And so far, he’s a liberal poster boy:


Like it or not, big-government overreach has become a liberal tenet. I don’t like it, but I’m sure you would cheer such overreach if he was crushing the coal industry. What goes around, comes around. You can’t have it both ways.

Eliminating a business that spews out toxic pollution is not ‘overreach’. We got rid of asbestos. We got rid of leaded gasoline. And now we should get rid of coal.

So you like government intrusion when it supports your agenda. At least you’re honest about your double-standard.

Everyone likes government intrusion when it supports their agenda. It’s called policy and politics. We have elections so we find out what the majority (who vote) want, and then we expect the government to intrude appropriately.

It is not a double-standard at all. Any government intervention is intrusion and you support them as well. Do you think a policeman killing an armed robber is a terrible government intrusion? No! It is a mutually approved government intrusion.

I object to the private industry intrusion into my lungs. I don’t like breathing in mercury, lead, arsenic, and other toxins from coal burning plants. Many agree. I want to get most people to agree so we can phase them out and replace them with offshore wind, solar PV, hydropower, geothermal, natural gas, onshore wind, CSP, nuclear, tidal power, etc. Coal is an dirty & dangerous archaic fuel that we don’t need and it is hurting people, the atmosphere, and the climate. Let’s eliminate it.

Well let’s keep in mind anyone CAN purchase a Model S in “ANY” state in the U.S. you simply do so online, which is their business model anyway. Really no big deal. As far as needing a huge retail footprint to market the Model 3 I’m not sure that argument works either. BEV’s are not anywhere near as maintenance intense as a comparable ICE so aside from having a bunch of inventory sitting around (locking up capital) the cars can be built to order. (Yes you might still have to wait longer to get your car) but when you do you’ll get what you want as opposed to being strong armed at some stealership to buy what they have on their lot in order to get the best available price offers.

Being supply constrained as Tesla is currently, is not a bad problem to have when the demand for your product or service remains strong

Didn’t North Carolina ban online sales of Tesla for a bit?

Holy crap! West Virginia has electricity?!?!?

Yes . . . they just recently got it. And they are now terrified that some evil outsiders are taking away their incandescent bulbs. 😉

They’re also quite concerned about having new electric technology in the home. For example, they keep their electric washing machines on the front lawn because they are afraid to have them inside.

Wipes coffee off of monitor…… 😀

That explains the refrigerators on the front porch I keep seeing.

In fairness, they won’t rust nearly as fast if they put them inside. And non-rusting items is illegal in WV.

QCO said:

“…they keep their electric washing machines on the front lawn because they are afraid to have them inside.”

Hey now! That’s unfair. They keep them on the front porch now! 😉


I’ve borrowed a Tesla from my friend now for a week…and it is the best car in the world. Period. I just love it, and this is just strengthening my eagerness to get a Tesla Gen III as soon as I can. Ashame on West Virginia.

It is going to be very interesting when Tesla starts taking deposits for the Model 3. I think a lot of people are going to be shocked how many people will put their money down for a Model 3. I’m certainly ready to sign up.

The State-by-State battle for Tesla to be able to sell cars in the United States, fought tooth and nail by State dealership associations, is definitely a case of two steps forward and one step back.

That said, if Tesla were to make a list of States where it would most want to expand its market, West Virginia would almost certainly not be high on that list. It’s a comparatively small step back, especially in comparison to the recent victory in New Jersey.

They way I handle it is I cut off doing business with suppliers in those states until the states reverse their behavior.

Since the article didn’t mention his party affiliation, I assume he’s a Democrat.

Good guess! 😉

Unless you’re Rick Perry who signed the same thing. More that he’s a southern and a corporatist, like too many politicians.

Who Killed the Electric Car round 2. Alaska will make a similar blunder, I’m sure.