February 19, 2021

Transportation Committee Hears Haskell-Steinberg Bill to Promote Electric Vehicles

Today, the Transportation Committee heard legislation introduced by State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) and State Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport) that would permit electric vehicle manufacturers to sell electric cars directly to the consumer. Currently, Connecticut residents are required to purchase an electric vehicle, such as a Tesla, elsewhere. Connecticut is an outlier in the region, as most neighboring states do not require cars to be sold through a dealership and instead can be purchased by a consumer directly from a manufacturer.

“Our current state law makes for bad economic policy and bad environmental policy,” said Sen. Haskell. “With 40% of carbon emissions stemming from the transportation sector, we should be doing everything we can to put more drivers behind the wheel of an electric vehicle. Instead, we’re pushing them across the border and forcing them to make this purchase elsewhere. I’m glad the Transportation Committee has agreed to consider this overdue reform, and I look forward to fighting to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible.”

“Every major car manufacturer has embraced electric vehicles as our inevitable future,” said Rep. Steinberg. “Yet our state continues to frustrate sales of EVs by sticking with an antiquated law which forbids sales directly to the consumer, while virtually every other state has abandoned this restriction. CT will fall behind other states, damaging our economy and environment, all because entrenched interests cling to the status quo. It’s long past time for our state to take action on facilitating EV sales.”

Senate Bill 127, “An Act Concerning The Sale of Electric Vehicles In The State,” would amend state statutes to allow electric vehicle manufacturers with sustainable business models and electric-only production to be granted new or used car dealer’s licenses. Manufacturers would still be required to meet Connecticut’s strong consumer protection laws.

The EV Club of Connecticut has fought for this legislation, citing the state’s slow progress toward a stated goal of putting 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030. While Tesla is permitted to conduct test drives at its Milford location, customers must drive to Mt. Kisco, New York to pick up their vehicle. As other electric car manufacturers, such as Lucid and Rivian enter the marketplace, Connecticut and its residents are at a disadvantage in accessing these 21st century vehicles.