Tesla targets Minn. electric car market, auto dealers opposed

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After fighting a legislative battle surrounding Minnesota's dealership laws, California-based electric car manufacturer Tesla Motors is moving forward with plans to open retail stores in Edina and at the Mall of America.

Tesla sells the $57,400 Model S electric car that the company claims can go more than 300 miles on a single electric charge and is twice as energy-efficient as a Toyota Prius, the Star Tribune reports.

Diarmuid O'Connell, Tesla's vice president of corporate and business development, compares the retail stores to Apple's direct-to-consumer electronics store.

But the Minnesota Automobile Dealers Association says Tesla has an unfair cost advantage over auto dealers, who must maintain lots full of cars while also complying with recalls, warranty work and the state's "lemon law," the newspapers reports.

Tesla won the fight at the state Legislature last week when a Senate committee voted against an amendment that would ban auto companies from owning any dealerships, according to Green Car Reports.

The Star Tribune says Tesla's application for a car dealer license is being processed.

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