Iowa Bans Tesla Test Drives


The war between car dealers and Tesla Motors opened a new front in Iowa, as the local dealer association tattled on a three-day Tesla test drive event, reports USA Today.

Tesla had set up a three-day test drive event in a hotel parking lot in West Des Moine as part of its nationwide Fully Charged test drive event. However, the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association ratted Tesla out to the Iowa Department of Transportation, which asked Tesla to cease giving test drives as it isn’t a licensed dealer in the state. Tesla doesn’t have any showrooms or service centers in Iowa either, but state law prohibits the sale of vehicles by manufacturers anyways. Tesla says that since it doesn’t have any franchised dealerships, the law doesn’t apply, and anyways the test drive was just that; a test drive. They weren’t selling cars out of a hotel parking lot, as the car dealers claim.

Buyers can still buy a Model S online and have it delivered in Iowa of course, and dealers claim they just want Tesla to adhere to the same rules they have to follow. This may ultimately prove to be in vain though, as state governments like Massachusetts are choosing to side with Tesla rather than auto dealers, who are transparently trying to stop Tesla’s sales model, rather than figure out a way to compete with it.

For the foreseeable future though, Iowa Tesla fans may simply be out of luck; there are no planned Supercharger stations, stores, or service centers in the Hawkeye State in the foreseeable future. The closest store is located in neighboring Illinois or Missouri, the latter of which recently shot down an attempt to revoke Tesla’s dealer license.

Hopefully Iowa’s residents will wake up and let their lawmakers know how they feel about this car dealer shenanigans.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.