Tesla says Chris Christie’s move is ‘affront to the very concept of a free market’

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Tesla has a special history with the state of New Jersey, having delivered the 500th Roadster there in 2009. Fast forward to 2014, though, and the electric vehicle company is having a decidedly less-positive experience in the Garden State. In short, Tesla’s ongoing dealer fight has turned sour, and thing are potentially going from bad to worse today.

Tesla says it has been working “constructively” with the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission (NJMVC) and Governor Chris Christie’s administration “to defend against the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers’ (NJ CAR) attacks on Tesla’s business model and the rights of New Jersey consumers.” In other words, the right for Tesla to open its own stores and not use the traditional dealer model. The legislative process on the fate of Proposal PRN 2013-138 (PDF) has been continuing and Tesla says it thought everyone was acting in good faith, but now it’s not so sure. In a new official blog post, Tesla says:

Unfortunately, Monday we received news that Governor Christie’s administration has gone back on its word to delay a proposed anti-Tesla regulation so that the matter could be handled through a fair process in the Legislature. The Administration has decided to go outside the legislative process by expediting a rule proposal that would completely change the law in New Jersey. This new rule, if adopted, would curtail Tesla’s sales operations and jeopardize our existing retail licenses in the state. … This is an affront to the very concept of a free market.

A meeting on the proposal is scheduled to take place this afternoon, and Tesla is not happy about it. In Ohio last year, Tesla asked for immediate help to stop a similar bill, which ended up working. For a while.

Last year, New Jersey started considering an EV-only tax that would cost EV drivers about $100 a year, but that appears to have been scrapped.

Written by Lewis Shaw

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