Last month Tesla’s plan for a showroom and service center in San Antonio was denied approval by the city zoning commission over concerns that Tesla’s battery packs could potentially contaminate the local water supply. The commission denied the proposal despite the recommendation of San Antonio Water System (SAWS) which approved Tesla’s project.
The project was up for another vote last week, but Tesla pulled the proposal to work on some the details ahead of more concerns leading up to the vote… The rejected proposal is just the latest instance of the company’s troubles in Texas. The state’s direct sales prohibit Tesla from selling cars in the state.
Tesla insists on bypassing dealerships which they see as an outdated middleman between car manufacturers and customers. They instead sell their cars directly to customers through their company-owned stores or through their website. In Texas, the stores are replaced by showrooms, like the one proposed in San Antonio, in which Tesla employees can educate potential buyers on electric vehicles and Tesla’s offering, but they can’t give test drives or talk about pricing. They refer customers to Tesla’s website if they want more information or to place an order.
Tesla said it would keep only 10 battery packs at the San Antonio location and it is difficult to imagine how the packs could contaminate the water supply considering they are tightly sealed.
The company is planning to bring back the proposal to the city council after figuring out more details.
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