9-22_9-25 Tesla owner Frank ThorleyC_Jag-4.jpg

Frank Thorley of Fenton Township prefers his Tesla because of its safety record, and he enjoys the swift handling and autopilot options as well.

 Michigan residents who wish to purchase a Tesla have fewer barriers after a Jan. 22 agreement between the state of Michigan and Tesla, Inc.

 Current owners can now have their vehicles serviced in Michigan as well, and purchase them in Michigan online.

 Tesla does not work with dealerships to sell vehicles. Instead, the company sells directly to customers online. This can be facilitated at a Tesla Store.

 Under this agreement, Tesla vehicles may be sold to Michigan customers — as long as the sales contract indicates the sale takes place outside of Michigan, a work around for Michigan’s law requiring sales through independent licensed dealers.

 In 2016, Tesla was denied the right to a dealership license, according to Fortune.com. Instead of a privately owned dealership, Tesla sought to open a company-owned dealership, which was denied. Until this recent agreement, interested parties had to purchase their vehicles out of state, take delivery of the car and then transfer the title.

 Now, they may buy the vehicle inside Michigan.

 Where online sales aren’t allowed, a Tesla Gallery is there to provide information and an up close look, and then steer interested parties to another location for a purchase.

 In 2016, the Tesla Gallery in the Somerset Collection in Troy opened. A Tesla still can’t be purchased here, but employees can provide information about vehicles. Still, the closest location for a test drive is Cleveland, Ohio. And there’s no service location in Michigan yet.

 Brian Kasper of Grand Ledge and a friend started a Tesla Model 3 owners group on Facebook, which now has more than 420 members. He said everyone in the group welcomed this agreement.

 Kasper travels to Toledo for vehicle checkups. His vehicle was delivered on a trailer via Tesla, but others travel to Chicago or Cleveland to receive their cars.

“If you test drive one you better have a check ready,” he said, adding that Tesla spoiled him for other vehicles.

 “Finally,” said Tesla Model 3 owner Frank Thorley of Fenton Township. He drove to Florida with his wife Charmaine for the winter. He sees the recent agreement as an improvement. Aside from loving smart technology, Thorley bought his Tesla because of the safety record. “Not to have Michigan have easy access to a very safe car … they’re not doing the residents a favor,” he said. 

 The electric vehicle market and landscape keep changing. This year, a new supercharger station is expected to be open in Swartz Creek. Currently, the closest locations are in Lansing and Auburn Hills.

 Concerning the controversial Cybertruck, Thorley believes it’s an interesting, well-engineered vehicle. He attributes the GMC Hummer EV coming in 2022, to the interest in the Cybertruck.

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