CT coalition opposes direct EV-sales bill

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Business and labor groups said Wednesday they have joined forces to oppose legislation that would allow the direct sale in Connecticut of electric vehicles, including Tesla automobiles.

Presidents and members of the Greater Valley and Greater Norwalk chambers of commerce, as well as the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Metro Hartford Alliance and the United Auto Workers Union, Region 9A wrote lawmakers a letter urging rejection of HB 7097, "An Act Concerning the Licensing of New and Used Car Dealers."

The bill would grant an "unfair advantage for certain manufacturers of electric vehicles [by] allowing them to circumvent current laws through a loophole in which they could sell directly to consumers in Connecticut," the coalition said. Some cited Tesla as a direct beneficiary of the proposed law.

Julie Kushner, UAE Region 9A director, said the bill benefits multinational, out-of-state corporations over locally owned franchise dealerships, and "encourages the outsourcing of technical jobs [while employing] less than half the people in the direct sell store as does a franchised dealership."

The Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association employs approximately 14,000 people in the state.

Tesla advocates earlier this month formed their own coalition backing the bill.

In an emailed statement, a Tesla spokesman said, "Tesla is an American company that would like to sell directly to Connecticut customers who want our products. The people hurt by the state's existing protectionist policies are the Connecticut residents losing out on Tesla jobs and customers who are currently forced to go to neighboring states with their hard earned money."

Source: http://www.hartfordbusiness.com/article/20170412/NEWS01/170419967