MA residents: Write to Rep. Pacheco re: anti-Tesla bill

MA residents: Write to Rep. Pacheco re: anti-Tesla bill

State Senator Marc Pacheco has sponsored an anti-Tesla bill in Massachusetts:

MA residents: please consider filling out this form to kindly ask Mr. Pacheco to reconsider this poor decision.

Please stay polite & respectful.

danwmd | December 5, 2013

Thanks for bringing this to my attention. I've added my $0.02!

stephen.pace | December 5, 2013

I work for a company in MA. This is the note I sent:

State Sen. Marc Pacheco:

I was very disappointed to learn of your sponsorship of Bill S.129 in support of local dealers in Massachusetts which would in effect cripple Tesla’s current operating model. I would like to address some of the points you made to the Taunton Gazette last September:

1) First, you state that this bill isn’t about Tesla at all but about larger issues. I believe that. However, why say that “[t]his blanket prohibition on manufacturer ownership applies notwithstanding whether a manufacturer or distributor has previously used independently owned or operated dealerships to distribute its vehicles.” Why not differentiate between existing manufacturers that have dealers now and those that never have? It is one thing for manufacturers like Ford to enfranchise dealers and then later try to disenfranchise them. I get that. However, I testified at the Texas House hearing on similar legislation, and Elon Musk—the CEO of Tesla—testified at that same hearing that Tesla will fail if forced prematurely into a dealer model. Electric vehicle makers Fisker and Coda already tried going the dealer route and they are both bankrupt now. The reasoning is current dealers make a significant portion of their money on service. One dealer representative in the Texas Senate hearing went as far as saying they are willing to lose money on a customer to keep their future service business. By contrast, electric vehicles have very little service. No transmissions to fail or oil to change. No complex engine to break, mufflers to crack, etc. The truth is, if electric vehicles are successful, no legislation in the world will prevent there being less dealers in the future. That is the reason that the dealers often try to steer electric car buyers into other cars on their lot and part of the reason why tiny Tesla sells almost as many Model S vehicles (at twice the price!) per quarter than Nissan sells Leafs or Chevy sells Volts. Dealers also resent the amount of education they need to provide to electric car buyers because the technology is so new—it is much easier to sell a gas car that people already understand. Because of that, Tesla believes they have they have hit upon a business plan that works for electric vehicles, and I urge you to let them try to prove that in the marketplace rather than have the government attempt to pick a winning formula for them. If the current dealers are getting squeezed by GM or Ford, then the solution is to amend the law to address the real problem and allow Tesla (which has never had a dealer network) to continue on their own path.

2) In the same article, you say that “electric cars are welcome in the state but that the Tesla car is not a plug-in for the average working family,” adding that, “this is a high end model that would be available to a very small percentage of the general population.” True, but if there were no Tesla, there would be no Chevy Volt. Bob Lutz, the man behind the Volt, stated in the movie “The Revenge of the Electric Car” that he was finally able to push the Volt through because he wasn’t going to let a tiny company in California show up GM. And further, Tesla’s “secret master plan” (available at this link):

has always been to prove out the technology in the Roadster (low volume / high cost), use that money to build a medium volume car from the ground up, and then use that knowledge and money to build the base $35k car for the masses. If Tesla fails due to state government action like yours, the case for the affordable non-compromise electric vehicle will be set back many years. In fact, if it weren’t for zero emission legislation in California, many of the electric cars on the road today (compliance vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 EV and Fiat 500ev) would not even exist. My belief is that Tesla is keeping the major manufacturers honest because they are worried about being left too far behind given Tesla Model S was one of the most awarded cars of all time (Consumer Reports 99/100, 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year, 5-stars from NHTSA, etc.). In short, without Tesla, you will be waiting for your “plug-in for the working family” a lot longer than with it.

3) I’m not advocating a dismantling of the current dealer system. However, I don’t understand what makes car dealers so special that they get such special legal protection. If you are a doctor, you can buy a million dollar piece of equipment for your office directly. As a consumer, I can buy an expensive television set directly. Yet cars are somehow a magic product that requires a middleman. Why? In this internet age, we’re savvy consumers. I can look at Tesla’s offering, I can visit the store in Natick and ask a bunch of questions about how the car gets serviced if something breaks. The dealers seem to think this means Tesla should be providing much worse service than they do. On the contrary, as a Tesla Model S owner, I can attest that Tesla service is better than the service I used to receive on my Lexus.

Again, I urge you to rethink this legislation and amend it to address the real issue, protecting dealers from their existing franchisers and away from hurting the nascent electric car market for an American car company that has never had franchised dealers and therefore unable to harm any existing dealers. Thank you!



Captain_Zap | December 5, 2013

Just in case... when is this gentleman's current term up?
It might be worthwhile to look at his potential contenders.

Sudre_ | December 5, 2013

And people wonder why Tesla is not building any superchargers in MA. They will just pass a law to force Tesla to remove them.

Rheumboy | December 6, 2013

Hey folks....just follow the money!

Brian H | December 6, 2013

You forgot to mention that Tesla policy is that service is to be done on a break-even basis, which is anathema to dealerships.

odellj | December 6, 2013

Here's what I posted...

State Sen. Marc Pacheco:

I am a new Tesla owner and support the introduction of electric vehicles of all type as an important innovation of transportation but also for their ecological advantages and long term contribution towards energy independence for the US.

I was disappointed to learn of your sponsorship of Bill S.129 in support of local dealers in Massachusetts which would in effect cripple Tesla’s current operating model. My buying experience was the best I've ever had. While its hard to imagine it having an adverse affect to the traditional dealership model given Tesla's size, it seems reasonable that we let capitalism play out and allow consumers to decide what they prefer. It is my preference that you first represent the interests of the consumers over that of big business.

Thanks in advance for your consideration in this matter.


Mel. | December 6, 2013


Senator Pacheco is a to Democrat in a Democratic district. Unbeatable.

Mel. | December 6, 2013

Delete the to

stephen.pace | December 6, 2013

@Brian H: I was already too long and just had a few minutes to knock it out before I had to head out. No doubt it could be substantially improved.

AlMc | December 6, 2013

I am originally from Massachusetts (still have family there) and use to know the politics quite well there. If it remains anything like it was before this is going to be very difficult to defeat.
The effort should be made AND you should contact the governor in the hopes of getting a veto.

AlMc | December 6, 2013

You may also want to start a thread over on the TMC forum as well as there are quite a few people over there with Massachusetts signatures.

LMB | December 9, 2013

Over on the TMC forum, in the "New England" section, a bunch of us from MA have been working on this for some time. Four of us went to testify against the bill at the hearing of the Committee on Consumer Protection. It's worth noting that Rep. Linsky has sponsored a bill to explicitly legalize Tesla's business model, which right now is in litigation under current law. The MA Tesla store is in his district, and he got annoyed at the auto dealers for trying to push around the local officials who permitted the store.

I think we have a chance of preventing this thing from being reported out, but best if we could get Linsky's bill passed, so it won't come back again.

Here's an article from the Boston Globe about the hearing:

And here's a followup editorial from the Globe which borrows very heavily from our testimony to the committee:

Brian H | December 9, 2013

Ugh. Those Globe stories are subscriber paywalled. Don't bother.

NumberOne | December 9, 2013

It seems that this is a battle that will not end as long as a few wealthy Automotive Dealers have. They almost seem like the Mafia trying to keep others from their 'turf'. It is not that they do not want competition... They want a piece of the pie.

Andre-nl | December 9, 2013

"It is one thing for manufacturers like Ford to enfranchise dealers and then later try to disenfranchise them."

But they never explain why dealers in Europe don't need protection from competition.