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Iowa Bans Test Driving the Tesla Model S

(Credit: Tesla Motors)

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Iowa Bans Test Driving the Tesla Model S

2014 Tesla Model S

2014 Tesla Model S (Credit: Tesla Motors)

If you live in the great state of Iowa, you will have to travel elsewhere to test out the Tesla Model S. Thanks to a move by the Iowa Department of Transportation, an old law that regulates the sale of cars in the Hawkeye State is being leveraged to protect the public from the horrors of test driving an electric car. After all, that’s far worse than the dangers posed by murderers, rapists and back room deals with politicians.

Despite being ridiculous, this really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Quite a few other states have shut Tesla out in the cold, using their own arcane laws to block sales of the company’s cars in the state. The big issue is that Tesla hasn’t set up a network of car dealers. And since we all know how much everyone loves going to car dealers, this certainly is setting up a huge service to the public. The most awkward was when Arizona pushed Tesla out of the state altogether, only to turn around and try to win a bid for the automaker’s Gigafactory.

The result of this vigilant action by the Iowa Department of Transportation, thanks to a wonderfully helpful tip from the Iowa Automobile Dealers Association, is that a three-day test drive event for the Model S in West Des Moines was cancelled since it was deemed “illegal.”

Some question the sanity of Tesla Motors, wondering why it doesn’t just set up its own dealer network like every other automaker in the United States. Tesla doesn’t do things the normal way, but clearly there are some disadvantages to conducting business in a purely direct sales model, especially when it comes to selling automobiles. While the automaker doesn’t have to carry a stock and it increases profit margins, the direct sales model has limited where the Model S can be sold and has turned off some consumers who say they can’t get a simple question answered about the car. Perhaps as its movements are blocked more, Tesla will reconsider its position.

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