Auto Dealerships Win Big in Connecticut — at the Expense of Tesla, Rivian, and Clean Air


The EV Freedom Bill in Connecticut that so many were hoping would pass didn’t. Auto dealerships lobbied 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 town. They are also suing that town.

The clutch of the dealerships also extends to so-called EV advocates, such as Plug In America, which changed its stand from supportive and in favor to neutral after pressure from the dealerships.

This shows not only the power the dealerships have over our elected officials, but also shows that we have so much work to do as advocates.

Companies such as Tesla and Rivian are not allowed to sell directly to their customers in many states, including Connecticut. Instead, EV buyers have to go out of state to pick up their cars, which is highly inconvenient. The CT Post reported that the legislation failed yet supporters such as 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 (who we recently interviewed in depth on this matter), shared his thoughts to the CT Post in a statement. “Although the bill did not advance to completion, our broad coalition will continue to fight for consumer choice and the widespread availability of electric vehicles to all Connecticut residents,” said Chen. Chen has been doing this for several years, originally at Tesla. “Limiting sales of electric vehicles to a single method of distribution in (the) state is the wrong choice for the free market and blocks Connecticut from achieving its climate and economic development goals.”

Why This Is A Big Deal

Like many states, Connecticut has a plan to take on climate change. Last year, the state declared that it wanted to put more EVs on its roads. Energy News Network noted that the state committed to deploying 125,000 to 150,000 EVs by 2025 while adding that progress will be tough. Considering that 84% of the EVs sold in Connecticut are bought directly from manufacturers and the state ruled in favor of dealerships, I think “tough” is putting it mildly.

Advocates are not giving up, though. I chatted with the Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut and they emphasized this as well.

“We are stronger with every passing year. Our key is our members. We have the BEST, most passionate members. We will win soon enough, trust me.”

How To Buy A Tesla In Connecticut

You can still purchase a Tesla in Connecticut directly from Tesla, or a Rivian from Rivian, but you will 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 take delivery of a new Tesla, and so far, 5,879 have done this.

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.
  • Take delivery at Tesla Mt. Kisco in New York.

There’s even a Q&A section on the blog that covers taxes, temporary plates, and other information.


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