If the auto marketplace is a pimply face, Tesla Motors is a hot needle, prodding away.

Over the past decade, the high-end electric vehicle maker has built a niche following in a remote corner of the market, only posting its first profit in 2013. But with a mid-range, mass-market production model scheduled for release by 2017, it looks like founder Elon Musk has bigger plans for his car company. Tesla recently announced its proposal to blanket the nation with high-speed electric vehicle stations, providing 98 percent population coverage by the end of 2015; and on July 31, the company announced a partnership with Panasonic as it plans construction of a large-scale battery plant somewhere in the U.S.

The planned factory is expected to span 10 million square feet, employ 6,500 people by 2020, and provide a lot of economic benefit to the state where the factory is built. Tesla says it is considering Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada as possible sites (California was removed from Tesla’s list earlier this year for no specified reason).

As states in the southwest try to woo Tesla, others — like New Jersey — debate whether the car maker’s distribution model is good for consumers, or even legal.

Tesla doesn’t use dealerships to sell its vehicles, but rather sells its vehicles directly from showrooms. In most states, auto franchise laws make this model of vehicle distribution illegal. Though New Jersey looked the other way for a year, as Gov. Chris Christie said in July, The Garden State had to put its foot down and enforce the franchise laws. “I don’t like the law either,” Christie said. “I didn’t vote for it. I didn’t sign it. But I don’t get to just ignore the laws I don’t like.”

Legislation is now pending before the full Senate that would make Tesla an exception to the franchise laws, allowing the company to make direct sales in four New Jersey showrooms. The proposed law would also alter the state’s franchise laws to provide new protections to dealerships.

Musk’s stance is well publicized – he says the intent of the franchise laws is being twisted to prevent his company from fairly competing in the marketplace. The intent of the laws, he wrote in a blog post, was not to prevent a new company that has no franchises from selling directly to consumers, but simply to protect existing franchisees — For more information read the original article here.    

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