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Tesla scores big win in North Carolina in battle over car sales, business practices

Tesla Model SClearly, tech heads aren’t the only ones who have been wooed by being in a Tesla Model S.

Test drives provided  to key political figures in North Carolina in the all-electric vehicle might have helped to kill a bill that would have even made it illegal for Tesla to send e-mails to potential customers in the state as part of its unique business model, according to The News Observer based in Raleigh.

The proposed measure, backed by North Carolina’s Automobile Dealers Association, was included as part of the state’s auto-franchise bill. 

However, following House Speaker Thom Tillis’ test drive of the Tesla Model S and glowing comments about the sedan, the N.C. House decided to approve a new version of the franchise bill without the anti-Tesla provisions.

North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory took a test drive in the Tesla S as well, according to the Raleigh based news site.

James Chen, Tesla’s public policy director, was reportedly on hand when the House made the decision to revise the bill.

“I think folks understood that this was an attack on the free market, that this would have precluded North Carolinians from having the freedom to choose the cars they wanted to purchase,” Chen said, as reported by the News Observer.

When asked whether McCrory and Tillis’ test drives helped Tesla’s cause, Chen responded: “I’m sure.”

That being said, Tesla might want to get a couple of Model S sedans over to legislators in New York for a few test spins. Legislators there have tabled an anti-Tesla provision similar to the one struck down in North Carolina, which is likely to be taken back up when the house resumes in January.  

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