Texas Bill Could Let Tesla Sell Cars Directly to Consumers

Texas is one of the few states which strictly regulates vehicle sales, requiring all vehicle sales to be made through third-party franchised dealerships. The system, which currently doesn’t affect legacy automakers like Ford or General Motors, may soon be uprooted by a new bill, according to a new report.

In an update Monday, The Statesman reported that a newly-proposed bill may allow electric vehicle (EV) makers to begin making direct sales in Texas. House Bill 4379 would recognize EV makers themselves as “franchised dealers,” allowing them to sell vehicles directly to customers.

The new bill would allow EV makers to gain access to a “dealer general distinguishing number,” which would allow solely electric vehicle companies to make sales in the state. Tesla and other EV startups like Rivian and Lucid meet the bill’s requirement’s as independent franchised dealerships, paving the way for increased EV sales in the state of Texas.

While Tesla has the benefit of an online-only order configurator, it has largely had to sell its vehicles to Texas buyers from “out of state,” and with the company’s Gigafactory Austin nearly complete, the EV company will rely on the bill to sell directly to buyers in the state.

Currently, to buy a Tesla in Texas, new owners need to order over the internet or the phone, and not from a Tesla sales center.

Tesla has also tried to amend the law which prohibits direct manufacturer sales a few times in the past couple of years, with little success. Similar laws prohibiting EV makers exist in other states too, like Michigan, which tried to amend a direct vehicle sales bill last year to ban future EV sales, although the bill didn’t make it through the senate.