March 24, 2021

In Bipartisan Vote, Transportation Committee Sends Electric Vehicle Sales Legislation to Senate Floor

Today, the Transportation Committee voted 26-10 to send legislation allowing direct sales of electric vehicles between manufacturers and consumers to the Senate floor. This legislation would increase access to electric vehicles in Connecticut and provide consumers with the opportunity to purchase these vehicles directly from certain manufacturers. State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport), Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee, thanked his colleagues for supporting the legislation.

“Today’s vote leaves me optimistic that we’ll finally change course in Connecticut, modernizing our laws and making it easier for our constituents to get behind the wheel of an electric vehicle,” said Sen. Haskell. “Without passing this bill, it will be nearly impossible to meet Connecticut’s goal of putting half a million electric vehicles on the road by the end of the decade. Rather than sending drivers across state lines to make this purchase, this bill allows companies to invest in Connecticut, provide green job opportunities in our community and chip away at the 38% of carbon emissions in that stem from the transportation sector. I look forward to fighting for this bill on the Senate floor and I’m confident we’ll see Governor Lamont’s pen sign it into law later this year.”

“Today’s vote is the result of significant, meaningful work by the people of Connecticut fighting for their rights, as environmentalists and consumer advocates alike,” said State Representative Roland Lemar (D-New Haven), House Chair of the Transportation Committee. “This legislation will simply increase consumer choice and allow shoppers to buy the vehicles they want how they want and where they want. I look forward to continuing discussions and look forward to introducing this bill on the House floor.”

“By enabling direct sales of EVs, we are following the majority of states which recognize that this consumer alternative will not cause broad job losses or end the dealership model,” said State Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport), a co-sponsor of the bill. “Encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles in our state will be good for car buyers, good for the economy, and good for the environment. It’s taken many years, but I believe we’re finally on the cusp of preparing Connecticut to fully participate in the post-Ice Age.“

“Rivian applauds the bold leadership of Transportation Committee Chairs Haskell and State Representative Roland Lemar in advancing SB 127, a bill that was begun by the grassroots efforts of Connecticut citizens wanting to be able to choose for themselves how to purchase an electric vehicle in their home state,” said James Chen, vice president of public policy and chief regulatory counsel for electric vehicle manufacturer Rivian. “We have seen that in state after state, allowing manufacturer investment into communities through direct sales serves consumers well, coexists alongside other businesses and accelerates the transition to electric vehicles. We look forward to continuing to work with the bill sponsors and the broad coalition of supporters in the state to pass SB 127 in this Assembly session and ultimately enable Rivian to invest in Connecticut.”

“The EV Club of Connecticut is pleased that the Transportation Committee has voted to move Senate Bill 127 to the full chamber,” said Barry Kresch, President of the Electric Vehicle Club of Connecticut. “We thank the bill sponsors for their support. This bill is a win for consumers, the environment and for bringing green jobs to Connecticut. We look forward to further interaction with our legislators as the process continues.”

“The auto industry is in the midst of the biggest transformation in a century with innovation producing safer, electric vehicles with zero-emissions,” said Dr. Leon A. Pintsov, board member of the Connecticut Technology Council. “The CT Technology Council supports Senate Bill 127, because it’s time to overturn decades-old laws that prohibit car manufacturers with no franchised dealers in the state from opening their own stores and service centers and selling directly to consumers. Our current policy is limiting consumer choice, holding back EV adoption and keeping us from achieving emissions reduction goals. Connecticut is providing incentives for consumers to buy Electric Vehicles like Teslas – it’s time that its sales laws evolve to be more consistent with this forward-thinking policy.”

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. Currently, only automobile dealerships can sell electric vehicles, while consumers hoping to purchase a vehicle from electric-focused makers like Tesla Motors, Lucid Motors and Rivian must travel out-of-state to complete the transaction.

This vote comes two days after a rally by supporters of the legislation, including the Electric Vehicle Club CT, representatives from Tesla Motors, Lucid Motors and electric vehicle company Rivian, the League of Conservation Voters and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Union 488, saw dozens gather to advocate for expanded electric vehicle sales in Westport. Supporters cited environmental, consumer choice and economic benefits for Connecticut should such language be made law.