April 6, 2017
CT Green Guide

Tesla advocates recruit array of supporters

A Tesla store in a shopping mall in New York.

An ad hoc, varied coalition of environmental groups, a casino, commercial property owners, and renewable energy organizations and companies wrote to state legislative leaders Wednesday urging them to approved a bill allowing direct-to-consumer sales of electric vehicles in Connecticut.

The so-called Connecticut Electric Vehicle Coalition, which includes Tesla, argues that Connecticut has little chance of reaching its emissions-reductions goals unless it puts more focus on the transportation sector -- the largest source of such emissions. Electric vehicles are still a small percentage of registered vehicles in the state, and supporters hope that allowing direct sales to consumers will help that number grow.

A number of signatories to the letter -- addressed to Republican and Democratic legislative leaders -- had testified during a February public hearing on House Bill 7097, which was voted favorably out of the Transportation Committee last month 25-10 and added to the House calendar's growing list of several hundred pieces of proposed legislation.

The letter, signed by 32 companies, includes names that hadn't previously publicly supported the direct sale of electric vehicles, which auto dealers say would be unfair to their business model and could harm consumers.

Other signatories include Mohegan Sun, the Connecticut Sustainable Business Council, the International Council of Shopping Centers, and architecture firm Becker + Becker, which redeveloped 777 Main in Hartford and 360 State Street in New Haven (both of which feature renewable energy elements).

Tesla has been pushing for direct sales in several states, including Texas and Utah, where the state Supreme Court recently issued an unfavorable ruling.

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