Richard Waters:

Mr Musk sought to take advantage of his strong personal fan base, built on a devoted following of early Tesla customers and investors in his company, to hit back at the dealers and politicians.

Existing automobile dealers have “a fundamental conflict of interest between promoting gasoline cars, which constitute virtually all of their revenue, and electric cars, which constitute virtually none,” he wrote. The fact that dealers make most of their profits from servicing rather than selling cars also made them less likely to support Tesla, since its cars do not require regular smog checks and other maintenance needed by gasoline powered cars, he added.

The fight with auto dealers has been a long-running issue for Tesla, though it has yet to make a dent in sales, which have outstripped the company’s ability to build new vehicles. However, the company’s plans for the launch in three years of a mass-market electric sedan are likely to put pressure on its existing sales operation.