The bill still allows direct online sales but puts an end to brick and mortar stores
6 hours ago
by Stephen Rivers
The Republican governor of Mississippi, Tate Reeves, signed a bill on Tuesday that’ll change the way residents can buy electric vehicles. House Bill 401 requires that EV manufacturers sell vehicles in person through a franchised dealer. Online direct-to-consumer sales are still allowed but the bill still drew ire from some senators.
The state of Mississippi isn’t really considered a leader in many aspects and notably, this bill follows the lead of others like New Mexico, Alabama, and South Carolina. Supporters of the new law say that it’ll protect consumers by ensuring that EV automakers have a strong network of service centers. The governor himself touted the bill as “fair.”
“Almost 200 small businesses in communities across our state are seeking assurances that big manufacturers can’t just destroy their businesses. That’s fair!” Reeves said in a statement posted to social media. “I also recognize that innovation in this industry is inevitable. And with innovation comes new companies with new business models. I am committed to find long-term solutions- in an ever changing market.”
More: These Are The Most And Least EV-Friendly Places To Live In America
To put it lightly, the bill did not find favor in the eyes of all representatives. “In today’s world, if you don’t innovate, you lose out. We as a state cannot afford to lose out,” Republican Senator Brice Wiggins told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “My vote against the bill was a vote for capitalism, competition, and innovation rather than for a policy of protectionism.”
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Another Republican Senator, Joey Fillingane, was even more aggressive: “Maybe we just like being last all the time. Maybe it’s a badge of honor – we’re the last ones to change… If we’re not careful… we could deprive our citizens of opportunities they really ought not to be deprived of.” It’s true that Mississippi is ranked last in an array of national statistics including healthcare, employment, and economic opportunity.
The Biden administration has clearly carved out incentives to entice more EV adoption. This bill certainly seems to make it harder for Mississippians that want to test drive and buy an EV in person.
Tesla’s single store in the state will continue to operate as it was grandfathered in under the bill. Other automakers like Rivian or Lucid will have to work with a franchise if they wish to sell their cars in person in the state. Online direct-to-consumer sales are still allowed though so at least one more avenue exists for those interested in EV ownership.