Technology

Tesla launches a social platform to motivate owners to take political action on their behalf

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Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, unveils a new all-wheel drive version of the Model S on October 9, 2014 in Hawthorne, California.

Lucy Nicholson | Reuters

On Friday, Tesla launched a social platform called Tesla Engage to encourage customers to adopt policies that benefit Elon Musk’s electric vehicle and solar company.

While Tesla Engage was launched last year and is basically a continuation of the company’s efforts to build an online community, it represents a more centralized approach to organizing its fans and members of official Tesla Owners Clubs for political purposes .

Tesla’s fan base is the envy of all automakers. While cultivated in the company’s early roadster years, fandom grew exponentially with CEO Elon Musk’s continued dedication to fans and critics online, particularly on Twitter and YouTube.

Tesla fans today range from vocal, sometimes rabid, brand loyalists to bullish stockholders, Elon Musk admirers, car enthusiasts who love the way a Tesla vehicle drives, and others who reduce their environmental impact from driving an electric car or more want to reduce a car install solar.

The company’s public policy team wrote in a post introducing its latest endeavors:

“Tesla Engage is a new platform for both the Tesla Public Policy Team and the Tesla Owner’s Clubs. The goal is to create a digital basis for all of our work and to make it easier for members of the Tesla community to experience what is most important to us. ” Take meaningful action and stay tuned. We hope you will join us in getting involved. “

Some of the problems I encountered while launching Tesla Engage are:

How to change the metering rules at public EV charging stations in Canada. Currently, EV charging in Canada is billed by the minute or by the hour. Many Tesla and other EV drivers want the measurement to be based on power consumption rather than charging time. Disaster Relief in Texas. Tesla encourages owners to donate to a long list of charities in the state where Tesla’s second U.S. auto plant and SpaceX Boca Chica are located. A donation to help the people of Texas recover from the cold and energy crisis has the added benefit of making Tesla, a newcomer to the state, and its supporters look good. And in a post aimed at Tesla fans in Nebraska, the company urges residents to urge state lawmakers to change laws that prevent Tesla and others from selling vehicles directly to consumers, that is, without a franchise – Operate a car dealership in the state. They even gave fans a quick way to post public comments on the legislation to the Nebraska Senate or to contact appropriate committee members.

Tesla has long fought to change direct selling laws in the United States. Nebraska and Texas are among more than half a dozen holdouts in which Tesla is supposed not to sell directly to consumers, but instead has to ship vehicles from other states to customers who order online.

Over the past decade, the company has succeeded in lifting bans on direct selling in many other states, including Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Utah. Tesla is supported by Lordstown Motors, Lucid Motors and Rivian in its efforts to lift direct sales bans.

Tesla is expected to discontinue its previous Tesla forums on March 15, where comments and posts are “read-only”.

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Katherine Clark