Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted a “thank you” to Minnesota lawmakers for blocking legislation that would prevent the luxury electric carmaker from opening stores in the state. The state’s Senate committee last week was a setback for the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association, which backed the legislation. But the legislative battle is far from over.
A Minnesota House bill is still active, and a House committee will soon be hearing testimony on the legislation. The dealer association is working on getting its dealer members to contact House committee members and urge them to support the association’s position on the bill. The bill would clarify the state’s franchise law, making it clear a manufacturer can’t operate a dealership.
The dealer association and Tesla will be testifying at next week’s hearing. Tesla is asking for an amendment that would allow it to open stores in the state. When the legislation was introduced last month, Tesla was negotiating on locations for a store at the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minn., and for a service center in nearby Edina. The service center is scheduled to open during the first half of this year, and the retail store probably wouldn’t open until 2014.