Tesla has announced plans to launch a new social media platform called the Tesla Engagement Platform as a subdomain on its main website. According to the company, the website is a place for public policy teams and local Tesla Owner Clubs to hang out.
“Its goal is to create a digital home base for all of our work, and make it easier for Tesla community members to learn what’s top of mind for us, take meaningful action and stay in the loop,” the company says of the new platform.
Members will be able to create posts and “like” other people’s posts on the Engagement Platform. The company plans to make its existing forum read-only on March 15, which will essentially disable the ability to make new posts even though the existing posts will still be visible.
Tesla plans to use the new platform to promote issues relevant to Tesla, such as plans to do away with some states’ requirement that new vehicles can only be sold through a dealership. Tesla prefers direct sales and deliveries whenever possible, although it does have showrooms in some cities around the world. (Find the one nearest you.) Its current campaign involves the Nebraskan state senate’s Transportation and Telecommunications Committee, which is currently considering Legislative Bill 633. The bill would:
- Allow direct sale and service of vehicle by a manufacturer only if the manufacturer does not have—and has not had—a franchise in Nebraska; and
- Only allows the manufacturer to sell and service the line-make of vehicle it manufactures.
Tesla, of course, supports the bill, which would remove the requirement that it have a “franchise”, or dealership, in Nebraska in order to sell its electric vehicles to customers. It invites Nebraskans to submit their comments on the bill using this form.
The company also supports campaigns like relief for severe winter storms like the one that knocked out power to Texas’ residents. Unlike the Starlink hardware that can function even in harsh winter conditions, Texas’ power grid was apparently not winter-proof. State authorities were accused of negligence in preparing for a predictable, if rare, event and electric power companies were accused of price gouging during the failure and resulting fallout.
Despite the failure to prepare for an apparent arctic blast, this does not seem to have discouraged Elon Musk from expanding his companies’ presence in the state, including plans to build a new facility to manufacture Starlink satellites and antennas in Austin. He also has plans to put another Tesla factory in the Austin area. In recent comments, he described Austin as a possible future boom town.
The Engagement Platform can also be used by members of Tesla Owner Clubs to connect, and maybe occasionally meet up. With Tesla vehicles’ ability to customize their horn sounds, it may not be too out of line to expect that somebody will figure out a way to make them play songs at these meetups. Lyft once did the same at a major New York City music event to get attention from passers-by.
The platform already has a few articles by Tesla staffers, including ones titled “Faith in a Tesla” and “Tesla Owners’ Clubs – Upcoming Events“. Although members can comment on some of the articles, there appears to be no capacity for them to make posts of their own, although that may change when Tesla’s existing forums are retired later this month.