Tesla Owners Helping Iowans Test-Drive Electric Cars

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URBANDALE, Iowa — This weekend, Des Moines area residents have the opportunity to test drive a car not available in the state.

Iowa is just one of a growing number of states where regulators have banned Tesla Motors from setting up dealerships and test drive events, citing laws that prohibit car-makers from selling directly to the public.

But a group of Tesla owners have found a way around the law and Minnesota owners are helping out.

“We just kind of felt, this isn’t fair. People, if they want to see a Tesla shouldn’t have to drive out of the state of Iowa to go see one,” says Tesla owner Joseph.

Anyone interested in seeing the cars and getting behind the wheel will have a chance Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the Hy-Vee in Urbandale.


  • aightball

    Perhaps there’s a misunderstanding on my part, but “laws that prohibit car-makers from selling directly to the public”…isn’t that what Ford, etc. do? You go to a Ford dealership and Ford sells you a car, right? Or am I not understanding something here? Well, other than not allowing Tesla’s in the state means more gas guzzlers on the roadways…

    • David Helman

      The difference is that when you buy a Ford, or any other car other than Tesla, you buy it form a franchise dealer. While the relationship between car markers and its dealer is complicated, the consumer buys from a dealer, not a the manufacturer. What Tesla does (and is currently being restricted from doing in Iowa and some other states) is selling cars directly to consumers, bypassing the dealer. In the case of Iowa, not only can it not allowed to have a physical store to display the car, explain its feature, talk pricing and help customers place order, but its not even allowed to offer test drives. Many others have commented on the merits of buying either directly from the manufacture versus a dealer. The laws the restrict manufactures from selling directly were designed to protect a dealer that have made investments open a dealership from being undercut by the manufacture. As Tesla never had any dealers that made such investments, laws are being applied or changed that the dealer/customer relationship provides consumer protection and other benefits. The other side of the coin is that consumers should have a free market, and choose how they want to buy a car. If someone does not want to buy directly from Tesla, they can buy a car from another company that uses the dealer model.

      • aightball

        Thanks for the explanation! I had a feeling I was simply not understanding something. I appreciate you clearing it up. So, the cars themselves are not banned, just how they’re sold, then?

  • Clyde

    I say everybody needs one because everybody’s tax dollars are in it anyway. But lets say I was on drugs or insane or just plain rich, why would i want a car with a $ 30,000 battery? Oh it’s warrantied but who are you going to sell that 4 to 10 year old car too when that battery isn’t going to be warrantied anymore. The Tesla surely isn’t going to be around that long anyway unless your tax dollars hold out. So what ‘s the up side? It looks cool. Wire yourself a quick charging station at your house. Hope ya don’t park on the street. And just tell people your smarter than you look when you buy this thing. If it wasn’t for the subsidies they get from other dealers this thing would already be a piece of history. And those pesky fires they’ve had, you can just ignore them because they haven’t killed anybody yet, have they?

    • K

      Zero idea what ‘tax dollars’ you are referring to…. Tesla has received one Dept. of Energy loan, which it repaid 9 years early. The Model S battery is warrantied for 8 years, excluding accident or modification. Replacement battery costs continue to drop as time goes on, especially with Tesla receiving approval for their own plant. When you consider the Model S will save about $4k a year fuel vs. charging for comparable competition, obviously some of the differences start to fade away. And, as with any car, the used market will set a vehicle price with battery replacement considered. Your comment about parking on the street makes no sense; that would be the fault of the buyer, not the car.

    • 1qazXSW@

      In the case of Tesla, the battery warranty is eight years, with the majority of the battery packed optioned to have an unlimited miles on the eight year warranty. While most people would expect a car to last longer than eight years, that is pretty good coverage. While Tesla has only made a significant number of cars since 2012, these cars power train (of which the battery is key element) require less maintenance than of its gasoline cousins.

      Tesla does not receive any tax dollars beyond what what any other manufacture does, such as deductions for capital investments, R & D, etc. Compared to GM, which was re-capitalized after its bankruptcy in large part by the US government (tax payer dollars), Tesla success or failure has a lot more to do with free market than other car companies. Free market determines if it sells cars or not (well, at least outside of Iowa), and free market decides what its stock is worth. Tesla did receive a government backed loan to help it scale up to mass production (but not keep it afloat like GM), but that loan was paid back, with interest, at a profit to the US taxpayer. Their are also incentives for people to buy EV which go to the consumer, not to Tesla. Their are also tax incentives for business owners to (until recently at least) buy big expensive SUVs too, so Tesla owners getting a tax break is hardly unqiue. Additionally, in some states, companies that make too many gas gullzers have to by credits from clean car makers like Tesla, but these are company to company transfer, no tax dollars. It is true that some government policies have helped various auto manufactures, including Tesla. Governments do (and I’d argue should) encourage companies to hire people and grow the tax base, as well as support basic and advanced research.

      The fire thing is your weakest point, fires in Tesla are far less common than in gasoline vehicles. According to the Harvard Business Review, there were 172,000 gasoline powered fires, which works out to about one out of every 1300-1400 cars on the road. At the time the article was published, there were 20.000 Tesla with a total of three fires, making it about 75% less likely. As EV are a new technology, its understandable that a fire in a Tesla would get more media coverage than a fire in the run of the mill gas car, but what is amazing is that the three Tesla fires got more media coverage than the 172,000 gas fires. To say that is a bit is a distortion would be an understatement.

      There are arguments to be made against electric vehcles, as EV don;t have the 100 year history of mass production that gas cars do, but I think the public would be better served if you stick with arguments that are based on facts, or at least, not misleading information.

  • Brutally Honest

    One comment made by one of the car owners has made me dislike the thought of owning this car, although that are pretty sweet looking. The comment “Glad to see another person in the neighborhood that can finally afford one of these cars”. That was a comment from one Tesla owner to another. I dont want to be a part of a group of arrogant prcks, arrogant because oh look everyone i own a Tesla now bow down to me. Yea right.

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