After years of opposition, Tesla is able to start providing services to its customers in Michigan. It has now become known that the manufacturer is receiving approval to expand a building for R&D and service in the state.
Tesla has received approval from the city of Southfield, Michigan for a building expansion for research and development and a repair facility for electric vehicles. This is possible because the city recently updated its zoning ordinance to allow this type of use, Southfield Planning Director Terry Croad said in an interview Friday, according to The Detroit News.
The building that will be used by Tesla is at 21375 Telegraph Road in Southfield's Telegraph Technology Corridor, Croad said. Tesla plans to expand it to 34,500 square feet to fit its needs. The city government welcomes the new center as it is much more environmentally friendly.
“As I've been telling people, this isn't your grandfather's bump shop,” Croad said. “You know, there's not oils and gases, there's a lot of computers and chips and [you can] do diagnostics in a much cleaner way than your typical automotive repair shop.”
The city is happy to welcome new technologies such as electric and autonomous vehicles, so it is preparing for their development, creating solid ground.
“We continue to say that we're the center of it all. We're just finishing up our master plan where we're trying to anticipate the industry moving to electric vehicles, autonomous vehicles and automated vehicles. And we're trying to position ourselves with our zoning to be flexible for these new technologies.”
Michigan was one of Tesla's most emphatic critics of using online selling without traditional franchise dealers. The domestic automakers felt that it would be unfair to give Tesla so much control over their retail business. Tesla was forbidden to sell their vehicles directly to consumers or to service any of its vehicles in Michigan. In October 2014, Rick Snyder signed a bill banning direct sales of new cars in the state. The big three automakers including Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler United States subsidiary—all headquartered in Michigan—have lobbied for the 2014 law that restricts Tesla's ability to sell in the state. The company's customers in Michigan are forced to travel to Cleveland, Columbus, and even Chicago to deliver their cars or to service them.
Tesla filed a lawsuit in 2016 after several years of trying to change state legislation. After that, in 2020, the company and state reached an agreement and Tesla was allowed to sell, deliver, and service EVs in Michigan.
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