I recently wrote about a Connecticut state bill, SB-127, that would enable EV makers to sell directly to their customers and bypass the outdated dealership model, as is done in many other states. The initial committee vote took place earlier today and the good news is that SB-127 passed the committee vote, but there is still a long road ahead.
We're still a long way to go, but this is huge! 🎆 https://t.co/GDh6YWozyH
— Tesla Owners Connecticut (@CtTesla) March 24, 2021
The EV Club of Connecticut and the Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut have been working tirelessly to spread education about EVs and awareness about the importance of allowing EV makers to sell to their own customers. Honestly, the idea that EV makers can’t sell directly to consumers sounds a bit mad. If I wanted to get a computer, I could buy through Walmart or buy directly from the brand through their website. It’s the same with an iPhone — buy from Apple or through a phone carrier. It should be the same with cars for any manufacturer, and certainly any EV manufacturer.
The Press Conference
It’s not every day you see a Tesla Model Y and a Lucid Air side by side in unity fighting for our future. The truth is that EVs are critical for saving our planet — it sounds cliche, but if you think about the amount of pollution emitted from tailpipes all around the world, it makes you want to choke.
Will Cross and Barry Kresch documented the event, and The EV Club of Connecticut noted that the atmosphere at the press conference was “electric.” There were around 100 EV enthusiasts who descended upon Westport from all over the state in support of the EV Freedom Bill, aka Legislative Bill SB 127.
“I have been part of this EV Club for 9 years, and this issue feels like it has been around for most of them, but today felt different. The grassroots energy was palpable in a way that it hadn’t been in the past. Perhaps it is due to Tesla registrations having grown to almost 6,000 in the state. Or the excitement of new, really cool EV companies entering the market also looking to sell direct. Or energized engagement on the political front,” wrote Kresch in a blog post for The EV Club of Connecticut.
David Pogue, a Tesla owner and journalist who wasn’t able to make it to submit recorded remarks that were played to the group.
“I bought a Tesla Model 3 in 2018. Like everyone else around here, I couldn’t buy it in Connecticut. I had to drive to Mount Kisko in New York. That’s because Connecticut is is one of ten states that still explicitly bans Tesla dealerships. Yep, we’re right in there with West Virginia, Oklahoma, and Texas. Every legislative session since 2014, our state legislature had considered letting Tesla and other EV dealerships enter the state. And each time lobbyists persuade our lawmakers to shut it down.”
Pogue pointed out that this is due to greed (true greed) and noted that gas car dealerships make most of their income from service on the gas cars — not from their sales. He pointed out that the drivetrain of an EV has 20 moving parts, compared to 2,000 parts in a gas car. EVs don’t have fan belts, spark plugs, an engine (it has a battery), a transmission, a radiator, or other common things that an ICE car owner would have to take care of. Pogue continued:
“As a result of all of this, electric cars just don’t that much maintenance. So, gas car corporations hate the thought of these clean, beautiful, reliable electric cars. They lobby our lawmakers to keep Tesla and other EV companies out of the state just to protect their cash cow. But the dealership’s ban comes at the expense of the planet’s future and this state’s residents. Come on, you guys, aren’t new businesses good? Don’t they generate property taxes? Sales taxes? Don’t they need more local jobs?
“Don’t we want to support American manufacturing? For those of you who don’t know, Connecticut aims to lower emissions to 45% of 2001 levels by 2030. Wouldn’t it help us with our environmental goals to welcome big new players in electric cars to the state? Honestly, I feel a little sheepish that my state is one of the ten states that still bans independent electric car dealerships. Let’s move forward, folks. It’s 2021. The world has changed. We’re back in the Paris agreement. Renewable energy now costs less than fossil fuel energy. No more coal plants are planned for construction in the U.S. And General Motors — General Motors! — has announced that it’s going to stop making gas cars within 14 years.
“There are so many reasons to quit protecting the gas car businesses and their lobbyists. For our reputation as a progressively environmentally minded state. For the citizens of this state.who find it ridiculous that a protectionist law is sending them out of state to buy cars. And above all, for the planet. Pass SB 127, you guys. Let’s zoom forward.”
Long Road Ahead Now That SB 127 Passed The Committee Vote
Senator Haskell pointed out that the state had a long way to go in order to reach its goal of 500,000 EVs in its fleet by 2030. Kresch noted that he’d written a lot about this and pointed out where the state is today: 13,800 EVs.
“It will be necessary to maintain a 49% compound annual growth rate to get there. This may sound high, and it is, but it is actually worse than it sounds because this figure is growth in net registrations. Each year, there are new vehicles added to the file, but there is also turnover from vehicles leaving the file. In 2020, the turnover was the equivalent of 52% of the vehicles that were new to the file. So from an acquisition perspective, it means we need to double each year. Without SB 127, we’ll never get there,” Kresch wrote.
Featured image by Barry Kresch, used with permission.