Fact Check: New York State restrictions on Tesla | WHEC.com

Fact Check: New York State restrictions on Tesla

Nikki Rudd
Created: May 18, 2021 06:50 AM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — More and more people are turning to electric or zero-emissions vehicles. According to state data, 30% of the electric vehicles on the roads in New York are Teslas, but buying one might be harder than you think. 

Here's the claim: New York State is restricting some manufacturers, like Tesla from selling electric vehicles in upstate. 

In the Rochester area, if you want to buy a Tesla you'll have to do it all online or get ready for a drive. All the stores here in New York are downstate. 

"It's not fair now to say you could purchase a Tesla or a Rivian down in New York City but you can't purchase it here in Rochester," said Senator Jeremy Cooney. 

The Democratic Senator from Rochester is co-sponsoring a bill that would change New York's laws for manufacturers of zero-emissions vehicles. 

"Right now, under state law, we are limited to five direct-to-consumer sales centers," explained Cooney. 

That's how Tesla sells. They don't have franchised dealerships. You can only buy directly from Tesla. That's a problem according to Brad McAreavy, the President of the Rochester Automobile Dealers Association. 

"Tesla came to the market with that model," said McAreavy. "They thought they had a better way of doing business. It's better for them, I suspect, financially, but it's not better for consumers."

McAreavy says first, there's no negotiating the price. You can't go to another dealership and get a better deal. 

"To not have the dealer, the independent franchise dealer in your corner it's going to hurt consumers," McAreavy said. "It doesn't give them a protection that they currently enjoy today."

Just last year Telsa opened a service center and gallery in Henrietta, but this is just for browsing not buying. 

Here's some background. In 2014, Tesla struck a deal with lawmakers and auto dealers to allow its five direct-to-customer stores in the New York City area to stay open. Tesla agreed to open any other new stores as dealer franchises. That has not happened...

McAreavy doesn't believe Tesla ever intended to do that. 

"They're only interested in selling a car, selling the Tesla," McAreavy said. "We're interested in the entire ownership experience." 
 
Senator Cooney says it should be the consumers' choice. 

"If this law was to pass, you would be able to create new jobs, to have a service center, and to be able to sell those vehicles right here in Rochester." Cooney said. 

At this point, the bill in the Senate and the assembly is in committee, but there's less than a month left in this session. We'll have to see if it goes anywhere. 

News10NBC did reach out to Tesla but we didn't hear back. 

Of course, Tesla isn't the only company offering electric vehicles. Plenty of our local dealerships sell them. After Tesla, the top models here in New York are the Toyota Prius and the Chevy Volt. 

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