OLYMPIA, Wash. — A bill that would allow electric car manufacturer Tesla to open additional stores in Washington state is headed to Gov. Jay Inslee’s desk.
Senate Bill 6272 passed through the House Thursday by a 94-2 vote and passed the Senate in February. Under the measure, Tesla would be able to expand in Washington beyond its two stores in Seattle and Bellevue.
Initially the bill, which also clarifies existing laws between car manufacturers and dealers, had language that would have prohibited Tesla from expanding because of its status as a manufacturer and not as a dealer. The company sells cars directly from the manufacturer to the consumer.
The bill in its current form would not allow other car makers to operate in the same manner as Tesla.
Rep. Cary Condotta, who introduced and then withdrew an amendment that would have removed language allowing Tesla to be the only company using the manufacturer to consumer sales model, voted against the bill. The Republican from East Wenatchee called that part of the measure a severe flaw because it could reduce innovation in the car business.
“Tesla is now the only one to use this delivery model,” Condotta said. “I think this is very dangerous territory.”
Rep. Steve Kirby, D-Tacoma, acknowledged there were some residual issues with the legislation.
“We will be addressing those issues in a way I think will make most on the floor happy,” he said.
Washington state has the most Tesla vehicle sales per capita, according to a Tesla lobbyist.