WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. --- State and local officials congregated at the Tesla showroom in White Plains' Westchester Mall on Friday morning to take a stance against a controversial bill that could shut down the electric car manufacturer's showrooms across New York state.
Assemblyman David Buchwald, along with county legislators Ken Jenkins and Peter Harckham, White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, Mount Kisco Mayor Michael Cindrich and White Plains Common Council members joined Tesla executives and other concerned parties in a press conference to discuss the adverse impacts of the bill.
Bill A.7844-A would end the direct sale of Tesla’s cars in the state by mandating that vehicles in New York be sold exclusively through dealerships, outlawing automobile sales directly to the public - which is by in large how Tesla operates. New Jersey serves as the model for the legislation, having passed a similar bill in recent months.
Buchwald said he believes the state should send a message that green and innovative companies that will create jobs are welcome here.
"Tesla has created 35 jobs in my district alone, and the current version of the bill being considered in the state assembly would shut down showrooms like this one," he said.
Jenkins (D-16) is a proud owner of a Tesla car and supports companies like Tesla. So much so, he is working on two pieces of legislation at the county level to improve vehicle charging infrastructure. One includes installing charging stations in county facilities and having county employees use electric hybrid vehicles, while the other would require all vehicles purchased by the county to be electric hybrid vehicles.
Roach, an owner of an electric car, spoke about the benefits of cars like Tesla's, and said he hopes White Plains becomes a hub for electric car owners. According to Roach, the City of White Plains has invested in electric car chargers in retail garages and its Metro-North train station, and will soon be installing them in apartment buildings.
Cindrich said he was pleased with Tesla's showroom and service center operations in his village, and would hate to see them shut down.
"I'm very supportive of our franchise dealers in Mount Kisco, but the keyword is compromise. They have to find a way to exist where Tesla can expand and grow," he said. "In our community, electric vehicles are becoming extremely popular. My daughter drives one, her husband does too. I'm very glad Tesla invested a great deal of money in our community."