Tesla got a big boost on Wednesday in Connecticut as the Transportation Committee passed Senate Bill 127. If passed by the House and Senate, which is expected, it would finally allow electric vehicle (EV) makers to sell directly to consumers.
The state legislature’s Transportation Committee passed the bill with a two-thirds majority vote late Wednesday. If it becomes law it would ended the current rule that says only franchised dealerships could sell vehicles in the state, forcing anyone who wants to buy a Tesla to do so out of state.
State Senator Will Haskell and state Representative Jonathan Steinberg introduced the bill as a way to help boost EV adoption in Connecticut, where on 13,000 EVs have been registered so far. That number falls far behind their target of 500,000 EVs by 2030.
SB 127 sets several stipulations that EV manufacturers must follow in order to obtain a new or used car dealer license. This includes not having franchise agreements with any new car dealers and only selling their own vehicles.
Despite the support for the bill, there are still some opponents who feel the new law would hurt car dealerships, showing the power that the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Associations still wield over politicians.
“I do think that we’re changing the rules for certain very high-end cars and we are risking thousands and thousands of jobs that we have here in Connecticut, according to our auto dealers,” state Sen. Heather Somers, R-Groton.
Others, like Sen. Henri Martin feel the bill would somehow put consumers at risk.
“We’re opening this door of not protecting our consumers. Right now, if there is something that is wrong with their car, it is to the best interests of the dealer to take care of that car — particularly when it deals specifically with an issue that comes right out of the manufacturer,’ ” said Martin.
Tesla has one location in Milford, Connecticut, but if the bill passes will open several more according to comments made by Tesla senior policy adviser Zachary Kahn.
The next state that is likely to end a ban on Tesla and EV direct sales is Texas. House Bill 4379 is being proposed that would also recognize EV makers as dealers, allowing Tesla to sell directly to consumers as it finishes up construction of a new Gigafactory in Austin.
Editor’s note: A previous version of this article stated the bill had been passed. SB 127 still requires a vote by the House and Senate.
Source: CT Post