Automotive dealerships are successful huge in Connecticut – on the expense of Tesla, Rivian, and Clear Air
The Connecticut EV Freedom Bill, which so many hoped would pass, didn’t. Car dealers worked hard to fight this bill – and they won. One is even suing Tesla because they want to prevent Tesla from selling to its customers in their city. They are suing this city too.
The coupling of the dealerships also extends to so-called EV advocates such as Plug In America, who changed their attitude from supportive to neutral under pressure from the dealerships.
Not only does this show the power that dealerships have over our elected officials, but it also shows that we, as advocates, have so much to do.
Companies like Tesla and Rivian are not allowed to sell directly to their customers in many states, including Connecticut. Instead, EV buyers have to leave the state to pick up their cars, which is very inconvenient. The CT Post reported that the legislation failed, but supporters like the EV Club of Connecticut, Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut, and other EV supporters are not giving up.
James Chen, Rivian’s vice president of public policy and chief regulatory council (whom we recently interviewed extensively on the subject), shared his thoughts with the CT Post in a statement. “While the bill is ongoing, our broad coalition will continue to fight for consumer choice and widespread availability of electric vehicles for all Connecticut residents,” said Chen. Chen has been doing this for several years, originally at Tesla. “Restricting EV sales to a single distribution method in the state is the wrong choice for the free market and prevents Connecticut from meeting its climate and economic development goals.”
Why this is a big deal
Like many states, Connecticut has a plan to address climate change. Last year, the state announced that it wanted to put more electric cars on its streets. Energy News Network noted that the state has pledged to deploy 125,000 to 150,000 electric vehicles by 2025, but added that progress will be difficult. Given that 84% of the electric vehicles sold in Connecticut are bought directly from manufacturers and the state has ruled in favor of dealers, I think “hard” puts it mildly.
CT dealerships sold 342 electric vehicles last year.
That means the average dealer has sold 1.3 electric cars …
I’m pro-EV, anti-carbon, and agnostic about how cars are sold. But if 84% of electric cars were bought directly on the street, it seems clear that customers have a preference. https://t.co/slQfxd84Mh
– Will Haskell (@WillHaskellCT) June 16, 2021
However, the lawyers are not giving up. I spoke to the Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut and they emphasized that too.
“We are stronger from year to year. Our members are our key. We have the BEST, most passionate members. We’ll win soon enough, trust me. “
How to Buy a Tesla in Connecticut
You can still buy a Tesla in Connecticut direct from Tesla or a Rivian from Rivian, but you’ll have to jump through some hoops to get it home. Tinker Try It At Home explained it in a blog post. Connecticut residents can test drive, order, and receive a new Tesla, and 5,879 have done so to date.
The blog gives you 3 steps on how to do this:
- Schedule a test drive at the Milford Connecticut Service Center.
- Place your order online.
- Pick up delivery at Tesla Mt. Kisco in New York.
There’s even a Q&A section on the blog that covers taxes, temporary license plates, and other information.
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