Bill To Lift Ban On New Jersey Tesla Sales Moves Forward (UPDATED)

Two months ago, Tesla Motors lost one of the battles in their state-by-state fight against car dealers. The battleground was New Jersey, where a dealer-backed initiative led the state's motor vehicle commission to halt Tesla's car sales on April 1. Good news for electric car fans: As of yesterday, that ban moved to closer to being over.

Though Tesla had two storefronts where they sold cars directly, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission ruled in April that their model did not conform to a 1970s law requiring cars to be sold through dealerships. CEO Elon Musk penned an op-ed about the issue that you should read if you haven't.

But as the New Jersey Star-Ledger reports, Gov. Chris Christie said the commission was merely enforcing a decades-old state law and that it was up to the Legislature to change it.

And on Thursday, a State Assembly committee voted 4-0 to allow Tesla to restart direct sales, and open two more stores. From the story:

The bill would allow Tesla, or any company that sells zero-emission vehicles directly to consumers, to open up to four stores in the Garden State. The companies would also be required to have at least one facility that services the vehicles.

Interestingly, the newspaper reports no one testified against the legislation, save for a lobbyist with the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers who called for amendments to protect the dealer status quo. The president of the New Jersey Coalition of Automotive Retailers did issue a statement saying Tesla should be required to get dealers eventually.

Maybe the dealers are starting to realize how bad this fight makes them look, and that the vast majority of the public is on Tesla's side on this one?

Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the ban on Tesla sales in New Jersey has come to an end. Though the bill was approved, it merely moves forward for final passage.

Hat tip to Frank!