A CHARGED SITUATION, May 2014
Technology, tradition and Tesla
When it comes to technology, California-based electric car manufacturer Tesla is undoubtedly on the automotive world’s cutting edge. But the company’s direct-to-consumer sales methods are, for many states, a blade that cuts a little too close to the bone. And as with other consumer-direct companies and products making waves in the marketplace — think Bitcoin, Uber and Airbnb to name a few — lawmakers are finding themselves uncomfortably caught between protecting the status quo and fostering innovation.
Tesla’s engine-less vehicles are marvels of modern automotive engineering — sleek, fast and stylish in ways that previous electric vehicle makers likely never dreamed possible. They are also pricey, starting at $60,000 and rising to over $100,000. Befitting that, the company’s sales model is aimed directly at the well-heeled, tech-savvy consumer who is comfortable with buying just about anything online. Tesla defies the longstanding system that requires cars to be sold only through privately-owned dealerships in favor of a buyer experience similar to visiting an Apple store in the local mall. Which, incidentally, is where many of Tesla’s stores can be found. (click to continue reading)