NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The battle continues over how Tesla sells its electric vehicles in Connecticut. Tesla wants to be able to sell directly to customers. But other car dealerships continue to push back against this.
Teslas are popping up on showroom floors across the country, but not here in Connecticut.
There more than 40,000 electric vehicles on the road – about 12,000 right here in Connecticut – but none were bought here. A new bill could change that.
State Senator Will Haskell is the state chairman for the Transportation Committee. He along with lawmakers and advocates are pushing Senate Bill 127 to make it easier to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle in Connecticut, despite opposition standing in the way now for nearly four years.
State Sen. Haskell, “The governor this year is pushing the Transportation Climate Initiative, an investment that would bring tens of millions of dollars in to E.V. infrastructure, charging stations across the state. But what good will that do if we don’t have vehicles to charge?”
Critics of SB127 say it will not only hurt the automobile industry, but customers as well.
Timothy Kraemer, dealership president of BMW Bridgeport said, “Direct sales model does not benefit consumers with lower prices or convenience or better maintenance despite the marketing. We oppose Senate Bill 127 that bypasses Connecticut laws to select companies.”
Those in favor of the Tesla Bill say the change will be disruptive but is necessary for the future of the auto industry, the environment, and the economy.
State Rep. Johnathan Steinberg (D-Westport) said, “And we want to work with them to evolve the industry in a fashion that will mean they will continue to prosper in this context. But we want to offer consumer choices.”
State Sen. Haskell added of customers, “If they want to continue to purchase vehicles from a car dealership they are free to do so, and if they prefer to buy from an E.V manufacturer, they are free to do that as well.”