With State Bill 127 (SB 127), Connecticut is getting very close to finally allowing direct to consumer vehicle sales for automakers like Tesla. One electric vehicle (EV) advocacy group involved in the fight has done a sudden flip, and it appears to be the result of influence from the state’s legacy auto dealers.
Plug In America (PIA) has been a key part of the efforts to get SB 127 passed in Connecticut, and for similar bills in other states. Described on their website as a “non-profit, supporter-driven advocacy group”, PIA has supported the bill by providing information and acting as a middle-man between EV clubs, manufacturers, environmental organizations, lobbyists, and others.
As SB 127 nears the finish line, PIA has stopped the advocacy efforts and removed supporting content from their website, without explanation to the parties they once worked with.
The reason for this sudden flip is apparently because of one of PIAs businesses named PlugStar.
PlugStar developed a training program for legacy dealerships to become more effective at selling EVs. The program comes with a fee, meaning PIA benefits economically from dealerships signing up to use their program.
According to the EV Club of Connecticut, dealers threatened to end those agreements unless PIA halted their advocacy efforts for SB 127. Faced with the reality of losing a significant revenue stream, PIA seems to have caved to their demands.
It is unfortunate, but not surprising the legacy auto dealers continue in their attempts to block any measures that allow direct to consumer sales. They claim the new law harms car buyers by not protecting their rights after purchase, but it is clear to anyone that looks hard enough that it is more about them not being up to the challenge of changing their ways to catch up to the 21st century.
Source: EV Club of Connecticut