Mississippi Bill Aiming to Restrict EV Direct Sales Passes Senate

Written by Simon Alvarez, Teslarati
March 3, 2023

Electric vehicle makers may find it harder to open new company-owned stores in Mississippi in the future.

Following a nearly two-hour debate among lawmakers, House Bill 401 passed through the Senate by a vote of 38-14. The bill is now on its way to Gov. Tate Reeves’ desk.

House Bill 401 is controversial. If it does get signed into law, electric vehicle makers like Tesla, Rivian and Lucid would be mandated to sell their vehicles through a franchised dealership. EV makers today typically sell their cars through company-owned stores.

In a statement to WJTV 21 News, State Sen. Jeremy England, R-51, said the bill is simply bad policy. He also said with the bill in place, Mississippi is sending the wrong message. This could result in the state losing out on what could be lucrative investments.

“We’re telling the electric vehicle (makers) who use a different sales model that their sales model is not acceptable in Mississippi," England said. "If you have to go to a middle man and go to a dealership, you can already count on a 5% increase in cost tacked on just for the middle man on that.

“I believe we’re sending the wrong message. I think we’re telling them, 'Look, we’re going to do things the old way here in Mississippi. Good luck in the other states.’ They’re going to start selling their vehicles there, and we’re going to miss out on it."

Supporters of the bill said it would ensure all carmakers play by the same rules, regardless of their respective business models. England, however, argued states like Nevada, which allow companies like Tesla to sell their cars through company-owned stores, recently saw a massive investment worth billions of dollars.

“I think we took a step backwards with this legislation today… In Nevada, they’re an open model state. They allow direct sales from electric vehicle manufacturers. They just saw a $3.4 billion investment by a battery company in the state of Nevada,” England said.

Tesla’s lone store in Brandon, MS, will be allowed to operate even if House Bill 401 is passed into law.

We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

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