Texas Dem Legislator Blames 'Mr. Tesla' for Failure of Direct-Sales Law for Electric Cars

May 21st, 2015 7:06 PM

Imagine, if you will, that a conservative Republican legislator in Texas who played a role in preventing direct-to-consumer sales of Tesla electric automobiles in the Lone Star State was on the record telling the media that he blamed "Mr. Tesla" for failing to do his part to make nice with the powerful car dealership lobby in Texas.

It's difficult to imagine the media not highlighting the incident to prove Republicans are out-of-touch and don't give a rip about the environment. 

But alas, it was a Democratic state legislator, Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who made the relevant remarks. 

Via TXKToday.com (emphasis mine): 

A deadline in the Texas House has passed, killing many bills — among which one would allow Tesla to sell direct in Texas and another to regulate ride-share companies such as Uber.  Last Thursday was the deadline for House bills to win initial, full chamber approval.

Texas has what’s regarded as the most stringent laws in the country prohibiting automakers from owning dealerships.

House Bill 1653 would have allowed electric car manufacturer Tesla to sell cars in Texas at up to 12 locations.

Tesla sells its high-end electric cars directly to consumers, bypassing middleman dealers.  A long time Texas law bans manufacturers from selling cars directly to their customers, meaning buyers here can only order the car online from the company’s headquarters in California.


Rep. Senfronia Thompson, who has served 20 terms in the Texas house said, “I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first.”  Considering the owner of Tesla is Elon Musk not Mr. Tesla one wonders just how in touch Rep. Thompson is with her constituents’ feelings on the matter.

As you can see from the Texas Tribune website, Rep. Thompson hails from a Democratic stronghold which has returned her repeatedly to office. The lowest percentage of the vote she's garnered for reelection in a general election was back in 2010 with a whopping 76.32 percent of the vote