Why It’s So Hard for Texans to Buy a Texas-Made Tesla in Texas

A state law is the obstacle here

Close up of Tesla logo on a charger at a Supercharger rapid battery charging station for the electric vehicle company Tesla Motors.
Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images

Tesla Motors moves quickly. That could certainly be said about the cars they produce, but that’s also more of a general observation — when it comes to the company’s Gigafactory Texas project, it’s making impressive progress getting a massive manufacturing facility off the ground. For people looking to buy an electric vehicle, it’s excellent news. But for residents of Texas who’d hoped that this might enable them to buy a Tesla locally — well, that’s where things get complicated.

As it turns out, there’s a law on the books in Texas that’s responsible for that complication. At The Verge, Mitchell Clark has a rundown of what’s at stake. A Texas law currently says that automakers cannot sell cars directly to consumers; if someone in, say, Austin or San Antonio wants to purchase a Texas-made Tesla, that Tesla would first have to be shipped out of state before the sale is made.

If your initial thought here is that that’s a remarkably energy-inefficient way to sell an energy-efficient car, you’re absolutely on to something. It’s certainly possible to change the law, but – according to the article – they missed their window to do so in the current legislative session. Did we mention that the Texas legislature only meets every other year?

Clark notes that there is one possible solution to this dilemma: the state’s governor could call a special session to address the law, something which would also benefit other electric vehicle manufacturers using a direct-to-consumer model. Will that take place? A lot is riding on it — both literally and metaphorically.

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