Science & Technology
4:26 pm
Tue August 20, 2013

Tesla Opens Texas Supercharger Stations, But Still Can't Sell Vehicles In State

The Tesla Motors Model S starts as soon as you sit down behind the wheel and press on the brakes -- there's not even a place for a key -- and from that point there is no sound, even when accelerating.

Tesla unveiled its latest string of supercharger stations in Texas this week to help provide its car owners a free charge along several of the state’s major roadways, but the addition of the supercharger station in San Marcos is on the heels of a legislative letdown.

During the regular session, Gov. Rick Perry promised Tesla owner Elon Musk that he would sign a bill allowing Tesla to sell it’s electric cars, but the bill died before it reached the governor's desk.

State law currently prohibits Tesla from operating a dealership in Texas or even talking about the price  -- they start at $95,000 -- to any potential customers.

"So the galleries, they are education centers." said Tesla’s Alexis Georgeson. "So you can come in, you can speak with our product specialists [and] we can tell you about Model S -- 300 miles of range, 0 to 60 (mph) in 4.2 seconds, 416 horsepower. We can tell you about all the phenomenal aspects of the car, but we can’t actually sell you one."

Customers can’t test drive a car either, but they can log on to the Tesla Motors website and submit a payment for a vehicle then wait three to six weeks for delivery, which is what Darren Duval did, one of 700 Texas drivers to do so.

"There’s definitely a leap of faith," Duval said. "I read about the car originally in 'Wired' magazine a couple years ago, and it was shortly after that I did some research online and then I put down my deposit."

Georgeson said they have broken ground on superchargers in Columbus, Texas, which is outside of Houston, and in Waco.

Tesla officials plan to have legislation re-filed in 2015 that allows them sell cars in Texas.