The other day was June 1st, which marked the official end of Texas’ legislative session. That’s relevant because a bill which would have allowed Tesla Motors up to 12 factory stores in the state had previously expired without passing, and the end of the state’s legislature means that the proposal can’t be tacked onto another bill.
Bloomberg reports that Tesla Motors will thus have to wait until the next regular legislative session in Texas, in 2017, in order to try and pass a similar bill.
This development forces some previous Tesla Motors plans – or at least, tentative plans – into purgatory. CEO Elon Musk had previously said that the state would have been considered as a possible site for a pilot Tesla Motors “Hyperloop” rapid transit system, and Bloomberg reports that the automaker had even floated the idea of producing an all-electric pickup truck in the state.
“When we do a pickup, it would be logical that we would do it in Texas,” said Tesla Motors Vice President of Business Development Diarmuid O’Connell. “It’s also logical to ask why would we invest major amounts of money in a state where we can’t even do business.”
Tesla Motors had hired 20 lobbyists, and paid over $150,000 toward campaign contributions in Texas between October and December of 2014, says Bloomberg. The Texas automotive market is a large and important one, with roughly $81 billion in annual sales, according to the National Automobile Dealers Association. But dealers in the state hold tremendous sway, and blocked the bill’s passage through stalling lawmakers.
“They are thwarting the will of the people,” said O’Connell. “That it doesn’t even get a fair hearing – much less a vote – is to me very odd and disturbing.”