There’s bad news for Tesla CEO and born-again Republican Elon Musk as the North Carolina GOP has introduced a bill to eliminate free charging stations for electric vehicles. The reasoning? It’s unfair. Sponsored by Rep. Keith Kidwell (R-Beaufort) and three House colleagues, HB 1049 will ban state and local government properties from having free EV charging stations unless offering free gas and diesel as well. Any private business such as a hotel must provide every guest – EV owner or not – with a receipt of how much of their bill subsidizes the free stations, according to The Carolina Journal.
The bill, titled the “Equitable Free Vehicle Fuel Stations” act, states in Section 1:
“Any person who is engaged in a business where electric vehicle charging stations are provided for use by the public at no charge shall ensure that each customer of the business, without regard to whether the customer uses the charging stations, is informed of, on the receipt for purchases, the percentage of the amount of the customer’s total purchase price that is a result of the business providing electric vehicle charging stations at no charge.”
The bill allows for a one-time incentive payment of $50,000 from the Department of Transportation’s General Fund to have the charging stations removed altogether from businesses unable to comply.
This could spell trouble for Musk, who first moved Tesla’s headquarters from California, Tesla’s biggest sales market, to Texas in 2021. Musk moved Tesla’s headquarters to a state where Teslas can’t legally be sold directly to customers due to “franchised dealer laws,” according to Inside EVs. Even after opening a factory in the state, Tesla was excluded from Texas’ EV rebate program. Out of 142 available models across all the other EV companies – not one in the rebate program is a Tesla.
With Tesla having a showroom, service facility, and retail outlet in Raleigh – North Carolina’s capital city – the banning of charging stations could make potential customers think twice before purchasing a Tesla. perhaps it’s something Musk should have thought about before his public declaration that he could no longer support Democrats politically. As Musk tweeted back in May:
In the past I voted Democrat, because they were (mostly) the kindness party.
But they have become the party of division & hate, so I can no longer support them and will vote Republican.
Now, watch their dirty tricks campaign against me unfold … 🍿
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 18, 2022
With the GOP’s fealty to fossil fuels and opposition to any legislation aimed at reducing carbon emissions, Musk pledged support to the party committed to stopping the progress of companies like Tesla. It doesn’t seem the smartest move, in any instance.
Follow Ty Ross on Twitter @cooltxchick