Connecticut’s “franchise law” has been around since 1972 and stipulates that auto manufacturers must sell their cars through third-party dealerships.
After five attempts in as many years to pass legislation that would allow the direct sale of electric vehicle (EV) in the state, there continues to be fierce, and misguided, opposition from opponents of what is frequently referred to as the ‘Tesla bill’.
On Tuesday Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, a former regional director for the United Auto Workers (UAW) union said she believes in increasing the number of EVs on state roads, but sees no need for such a bill.
Showing her bias, Sen. Kushner then referred to to Tesla CEO Elon Musk as “ruler of the world,” even though the bill is not Tesla-specific and would benefit other EV automakers like Rivian and Lucid.
“I’m really a strong believer that we need to move to electric vehicles, and I think we’re doing that on many levels in the state, and I see the car manufacturers are moving in that direction as well. I don’t see the need to do a Tesla bill,” said state Sen. Julie Kushner, D-Danbury, a former regional director for the United Auto Workers union. “I don’t see the need to advance Elon Musk, who is already ruler of the world,” she added (via New Haven Register)
It was also claimed that the proposed bill would harm consumers by undermining Connecticut’s consumer protection laws, and also threaten the jobs of the 14,000 dealership employees in the state.
Advocates for the bill paint a different story. Sen. Will Haskell, co-chair of the transportation committee and sponsor of the bill that failed to pass last year, says that physical locations set up by Tesla and other EV makers would still be subject to those same consumer protection laws.
Sen. Haskell also pointed out that the laws should make it easier for consumers to make the switch to electric, not harder. Customers currently have to travel out of state to purchase or service their Tesla vehicle.
Despite this, Tesla is still the number one selling EV in Connecticut. According to EV Club of Connecticut president Barry Kresch, the 8,944 registered Teslas make up 41.8% of all EVs in the state.
The next most popular is Toyota with 3,238 EVs registered in Connecticut.
Sen. Haskell is trying again to get the legislation passed. The bill passed through the Transportation Committee last month, and will next be presented for a vote on the House floor, but no date has been set for when it will be presented.