Tesla Ban Lifted in New Jersey After Christie Signs Law

Mar 19, 2015 08:14 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has signed a law allowing Tesla to start selling vehicles again at its showrooms in the Garden State.

Christie, who usually waits to the 45-day deadline to sign legislations, signed the Democrat-backed Tesla bill just two days after it gained legislative passive, according to NJ.com.

"I said last year that if the Legislature changed the law, I would sign new legislation put on my desk and that is exactly what I'm doing today," Christie said in a press statement. "We're pleased that manufacturers like Tesla will now have the opportunity to establish direct sales operations for consumers in a manner lawfully in New Jersey."

Christie was criticized last year for enforcing a law from the 1970s that called for cars to be sold through dealerships.

The automaker stopped selling luxury electric vehicles at its two NJ showrooms back on April 1, 2014. Since then, Tesla has kept the showrooms open, but it hasn't been able to sell cars or discuss prices with potential car buyers, according to NJ.com.

Now the company is free to do so once again.

Though the law doesn't specifically mention Tesla, it does apply to "zero emission vehicle manufacturers" licensed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission on or before Jan. 1, 2014. Tesla is the only company that matches that description.

Click here to read the full legislature.

"The automobile industry is expanding to include the manufacturing of electric cars that can help spur economic growth in New Jersey," state Senator. Shirley Turner, a sponsor, said in a statement to NJ.com. "With this law, we will be able to ensure companies like Tesla Motors get the equal footing needed to compete."

The law takes effect immediately, but it does require Tesla to open a service center at each location. The Model S automaker has already opened one at its Paramus location.

A similar bill is making its rounds through the Georgie legislature and Tesla is also hoping to have a bill passed in Texas, which current prohibits direct sales.

Tesla allows people to purchase cars online and have them delivered to their state, but without showrooms they can't test out the car first.

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