Last Thursday, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk urged certain Texas lawmakers to relax restrictions on the electric carmaker’s ability to sell direct-to-consumer without a franchise dealership network. To sweeten the deal, reports Automotive News, he casually dropped the prospect of building a test “Hyperloop” or a production facility in the Lone Star State.
The “Hyperloop” is Mr. Musk’s planned 22nd century high-speed transit solution, using steel tubes which will whisk people-carrying pods from station to station using air pressure differentials. It’s 22nd century only in its level of futurism; he wants to build a 5 mile-long test track within the next several years.
Now, it would be unfair (and inaccurate) to claim that Elon Musk is using such implicit promises to “bribe” Texas lawmakers; bribery is by-definition conditional. Musk has already stated that the Hyperloop test track would most likely be built in Texas. But the promises do help send a clear message to the state of Texas, which is that legislators would be remiss to refuse Tesla Motors’ offer of friendship.
The anti-Tesla Motors legislation which has swept through the US state-by-state is largely supported by dealership networks, who claim that Tesla Motors’ manufacturer-owned stores violate laws meant to protect dealership franchises from competition from automakers. Mr. Musk says that such laws are “un-Texan,” and that he simply wants to “give the people in Texas the right to choose how they buy their cars.”