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Tesla sues Michigan over dealership-only car sales law

Steve Jurvetson
A Tesla supercharger station

Tesla, the electric car company based in California, is suing Michigan over its law that prohibits direct-to-consumer sales of cars. 

In 2014, the Michigan state legislature essentially Tesla-proofed an existing law at the urging of auto dealers. 

The law makes it clear that car companies can sell their products only through licensed dealers. Tesla sells its cars directly to consumers out of stores it owns. 

Tesla says the Michigan law violates its constitutional right to due process and equal protection, as well as restricting interstate commerce. 

The Michigan Attorney General's office is reviewing the lawsuit and offered no immediate comment.

Tesla hopes to launch its Model 3 next year, a relatively affordable car that gets more than 200 miles on a single charge.

General Motors plans to launch the Chevy Bolt next year, another relatively affordable car that will get roughly 238 miles on a single charge.  Tesla says GM supported its dealerships in their bid to make sure Tesla could not sell vehicles in Michigan.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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