Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS)

The Symposium is Sold Out – People Can Still Come for the Car Show

Get charged up at NEEVS, the ultimate gathering for EV enthusiasts, policy wonks, and all who seek cutting edge guidance on decarbonization.

Please join us at the first annual Northeast Electric Vehicle Symposium (NEEVS) at Hotel Marcel in New Haven on September 9, 2023. EV enthusiasts, electrification and decarbonization advocates, sustainability volunteers and professionals, municipal employees, real estate owners and developers and policy wonks are invited to join us.

Bruce Becker is the lead architect and owner/developer of Hotel Marcel in New Haven, the country’s first zero emissions and Passive House hotel, and Chairman of the EV Club of CT. Bruce will welcome guests as they enjoy a light buffet lunch, and briefly share his approach to hotel e-mobility at Hotel Marcel. Guests have access to Tesla Superchargers, Level 2 chargers under a solar canopy and a custom electric shuttle van.

Hotel Marcel New Haven with solar canopies in foreground

You will learn firsthand from expert guest speakers about:

  1. Hotel Marcel’s guest experience in e-mobility,
  2. The state of public EV charging and opportunities for improving it,
  3. The latest updates in state and federal EV/EVSE incentives and V2G,
  4. Best practices for transitioning vehicles and homes to all-electric,
  5. How to move municipalities to 100% clean, renewable energy,
  6. The societal and environmental benefits that proposed regulations for light, medium and heavy-duty vehicles under Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II) provide for Connecticut.
  7. Zoning for EV readiness

Date: September 9, 2023

Hours: 12:00-4:30

Buffet Lunch: 12:00
Presentations: 12:00-3:00
Networking and Car Show 3:00-4:30

Host: Hotel Marcel, 500 Sargent Drive, New Haven, CT 06511

Organizer: EV Club of CT

Partner: Tesla Owners Club of CT

Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors: Hotel Marcel, Live Green CT, EV Connect, Chargepoint, Maxwell Vehicles, and the Greater New Haven Clean Cities Coalition.

Live Green Connecticut


EV Connect is a sponsor of NEEVS.


Greater New Haven Clean Cities Logo

Maxwell vehicles logo

Hotel Marcel New Haven at dusk

Speaker Schedule:

12:00-12:15: Welcome address from Bruce Becker, lead architect and owner/developer of Hotel Marcel New Haven and Chairman of the EV Club of CT. Guests will be treated to an overview of the e-mobility customer experience at Hotel Marcel, the country’s first zero emissions and Passive House hotel.

12:15-12:45: Out of Spec Dave will share his experiences charging his EVs at various public charging stations, sometimes across long distances, to map the current state of publicly-available EVSE and how the customer experience can be improved to accelerate EV adoption.

12:45-1:15 Mark Scully, President, People’s Action for Clean Energy (PACE) will present their model for decarbonizing at the municipal level. PACE is an all-volunteer public health and environmental organization formed in 1973 by a group of concerned Connecticut citizens to promote the development of clean energy, encourage energy efficiency and conservation and challenge Connecticut’s commitment to nuclear power. Over many years, PACE has engaged in education, outreach and advocacy on clean energy issues. PACE is committed to developing a pathway to a 100% renewable future, free of fossil and nuclear fuels. PACE is the largest all-volunteer organization in CT working on these issues, and is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization.

1:15-2:05: Vehicle and home electrification panel discussion + Q&A with moderator Barry Kresch, President, EV Club of CT, and panelists Paul Braren, owner of TinkerTry and an all-electric home, and Rick Rosa, Senior Manager for EV Programs and Products from Avangrid/United Illuminating. Decarbonizing vehicles and the built environment requires working with a suite of incentives, electric utility programs, and equipment vendors. Learn about the latest EV/EVSE incentives and how the EDCs (utilities) are thinking about Vehicle to Grid (V2G) connectivity. Paul will share best practices and lessons learned from going all-in on his home remodeling by enrolling his Tesla Solar Roof and Powerwalls in Tesla’s Virtual Power Plant (VPP) with ConnectedSolutions program, powering two EVs utilizing Managed Charging and Charge on Solar, maximizing efficiency and savings by installing a SPAN smart electrical panel and installing heat pumps for year-round comfort with no natural gas.

2:05-2:30: Charles Rothenberger, Climate & Energy Attorney, Save the Sound will present highlights of the Regulations for Light, Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles under Advanced Clean Cars II (ACC II). In July 2023, Connecticut became the latest state to initiate adoption of the Advanced Clean Cars II rule, which will benefit society by requiring manufacturers to increase sales of electric and other zero-emission models within the state over time, culminating with 100% of new sales being ZEV in 2035.

2:30 – 3:00: Daphne Dixon, Co-founder and Executive Director, Live Green Connecticut and Director, Connecticut SWA Clean Cities Coalition, will present about Zoning for EV Readiness, a must attend for municipal decision makers.

Hotel Marcel bar and dining room
Hotel Marcel bar and dining room

Networking and Car Show 3:00-4:30: Enjoy beverages and food at the hotel bar while networking with other guests, and head outdoors to the lot adjacent to Hotel Marcel’s Superchargers to enjoy the car show while networking with EV owners that are members of Tesla Owners Club of CT, the EV Club of CT and the Westport Police Department.

Hotel Martel New Haven Superchargers with Teslas
Hotel Marcel New Haven Superchargers with Teslas

RSVP required: Register here.
Interested in a sponsorship? Please email evclubct@gmail.com.

Parking at the hotel is available to all. Club members that are participating in the car show, please register your vehicles for that portion of the event.

Guests may register for:

1) both event tickets: the symposium and car show (only if you’re showing a car),

2) only the symposium (attending the car show is open to all registered symposium guests)

3) only the car show (if you’re showing a car and will not be attending the symposium).

Rivian Guilty of “Pre-Crime”

Rivian Service Center Stalled By Dealership Lawsuit

We’ve seen this movie before.

In a replay of what we recently saw with Tesla, a lawsuit by an auto dealership has stalled the opening of a service center by a company that employs a direct sales business model. As reported in the GreenwichTime, the Town of Shelton approved a permit for Rivian to build a service center and this was appealed by Mario D’Addario Buick, Inc. As noted in the article, the complaint states that the facility will engage in the “sale of new and used Rivian vehicles in violation of Connecticut law.”

Tesla previously received a permit from East Hartford to open a badly needed second service center in Connecticut. Hoffman Auto promptly filed an action specifying a similar basis. East Hartford subsequently withdrew the permit and Tesla did not further pursue the matter. The company continues to scout for another suitable location.

Of course, both Rivian and Tesla know the law and don’t have plans to violate it. However, if the law were to be changed, and it has come before the legislature repeatedly (thus far unsuccessfully), their use of the facilities may change accordingly.

There is a difference between the Rivian and Tesla cases, which is that Rivian plans to use the proposed facility to deliver vehicles bought online. In Texas, another state that bans direct sales, Tesla has been able to deliver new vehicles at its service centers. They do not make deliveries in CT.

With a hat-tip to Philip K. Dick who coined the phrase, pre-crime refers to knowing someone is going to commit a crime they haven’t yet committed, and is in the realm of science-fiction where it belongs. In our version of reality, it amounts to dealerships using the franchise laws pretextually to make getting these vehicles serviced as inconvenient as it is to buy them. It is part of the dealerships’ continuing campaign to stifle competition and consumer choice.

Volunteers for Sierra Club EV Shopper Study

Volunteers Needed For Sierra Club Rev Up EV Shopper Study, Round 3

The Sierra Club is fielding a third round of its Rev Up EV Shopper Study and is asking for help from the EV Club. Help is defined as visiting dealerships with a set of questions to ask and items to observe to assess if a dealership is making a serious effort to sell electric vehicles. The last study, like the new one, was national, and was done in 2019. At that point, there were serious deficiencies with respect to dealership commitment to EV sales. The prior study can be found here. These were some of the key findings:

Sierra Club Rev Up EV Shopper Study Key findings

A lot has changed in the macro EV environment since 2019 and we look forward to seeing the new findings. As we did last time, we will ask the Sierra Club to join us at a meeting to discuss the study results.

This link will take you to the Sierra Club page about the study. If you volunteer, they will follow up with you directly. Feel free to let the club know about your experience with the survey. We got some interesting additional texture last time from participating members – more like a focus group to complement the quantitative survey results.

It is not necessary to be a member of the Sierra Club or EV Club to participate. There are questions about the Tesla shopping experience in the study which serve as a useful point of comparison. We appreciate the participation of Tesla owners as well.

One final note. This club supports changing the franchise laws to allow direct sales by EV-exclusive manufacturers. Even though we and other like-minded individuals and organizations have not yet carried the day, these studies, and findings like that pictured above, have been an important data point in our arguments that excluding these companies from doing business in CT serves to slow EV adoption.



Direct Sales Bill Is Not Being Called for a Vote

Bill Stalled in the Senate

CT News Junkie is reporting that SB 214 will not be called for a vote in the Senate. This bill is also referred to by opponents, pejoratively, as the “Tesla bill,” though it would apply to any manufacturer of exclusively battery electric vehicles that does not have an existing franchise network and is not majority owned by a company that does (Ford has a minority stake in Rivian), and would allow them to open stores for the sale and delivery of their vehicles in CT.

As quoted to News Junkie, the bill’s sponsor, Senator Will Haskell of Westport, co-chair of the Transportation Committee said, “I think we have the votes in the Senate, I just think we’re out of time.” He also claims there are Republican votes in the Senate, which would be a change from last year.

The bill passed out of the Joint Transportation Committee by a vote of 22 – 12 with one absent and was not exactly along party lines. One Republican senator on the committee voted “yea.” That was John Kissel. Several Senate Democrats voted against the bill in committee: Steve Cassano, Rick Lopes and Norm Needleman. Democratic Representatives Matt Blumenthal and Christine Conley were also no votes. Republican Representatives Tom O’Dea, David Labriola, Irene Haines, and Tami Zawistowski were yes votes.

This bill is considered controversial – but only in Hartford! Consumers overwhelmingly support it. Public testimony given to the committee is also overwhelmingly supportive. Outside experts on the left, right, and center of the political spectrum support direct sales. But there is an entrenched and well-financed local special interest, the dealerships, who vigorously oppose it and marshal a number of specious arguments to do so. Here is a more detailed explication of our point of view with supporting data.

Whether the votes were there, or one vote short, as was allegedly the case last year, is immaterial. Opponents have consistently been able to run out the clock on this measure, no doubt working with some legislators behind the scenes to prevent the bill from coming to a vote. If the committee chair can’t count a majority, it doesn’t get brought up. That way they keep their dealers happy and don’t have to directly face their constituents. Also, if a bill does not come for a vote, it does not get counted in the environmental scorecard of the League of Conservation voters, so it is also a form of green-washing. A number of club members aided us in our efforts by contacting their legislators. Many get a response along the lines of, “I am looking at it very closely,” a way of saying no politely. Democratic Senator Julie Kushner held a press conference with the United Auto Workers, where part of her statement characterized Elon Musk as “already ruler of the world.” Excuse us, Senator, this is not about Elon Musk. It is not even about Tesla. It is about your constituents.

This Is an Election Year

Changes are afoot. Senator Haskell is leaving the legislature. He represents what is considered a swing district that was represented by Republican Toni Boucher for 10 years before Haskell defeated her in 2018. She has announced her candidacy. Republican Senator Kevin Witkos, who was rumored to be a possible yes vote, is not standing for re-election. Representative Laura Devlin, who was a no vote in committee, is GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Stefanowski’s running mate.

Consider your vote carefully. Don’t hesitate to ask candidates for a direct response on their stance on this issue. Direct sales is the single most impactful measure that can be taken to accelerate the pace of EV adoption. The data are clear from the experience of other states.

We will come back to membership next year asking for support. Despite the discouragement of this and past years, we will need to respond in force. There are more of us every year. They can’t ignore us forever.


Direct Sales Bill Passes Out of Committee

SB-214 Passes with 21 Votes

SB-214 has passed the Transportation Committee by a vote of 21-14. To see how individual members voted, check out the tally on the committee website.

Legislators are offered time to comment before the vote is taken and several took the opportunity.

Representative Devin Carney (R) (Ranking Member), who is a no vote, said that there is no longer a need because dealerships are now selling EVs, a change from several years ago. He opined that Tesla is a legitimate company, but that other, newer entrants like Rivian and Lucid, with their difficulties in ramping production, are not, and thus do not deserve this “carve-out.” He also objected to characterizations made of the legacy companies that they don’t care about the environment, and cited some of the challenges of sourcing the materials necessary for battery manufacturing from places like the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D), a longtime supporter of direct sales, said this year’s bill was an improvement over past bills. (The bill is restricted to battery electric vehicles and is no longer just a Tesla bill). Steinberg notes that the dealers say that direct sales will hurt their businesses but that the data from states where direct sales is legal just don’t support that conclusion. He thinks the entire auto purchasing relational experience will change, that it’s about competitiveness, and that this bill supports consumer choice. Interestingly, he said that he would support a bill that goes further than this one and do away with the franchise laws entirely.

Representative Stephen Meskers (D) said he was a yes because “at some level, the markets should decide.” His main concern was about whether this would extract profits from the state and vowed to engage with Tesla and the other companies to push them to maximize their investment in CT, including vocational-technical training.

Senator Henri Martin (R), voting no, complained that he doesn’t understand why this bill keeps coming back year after year. He feels that this bill does not protect consumers, questions whether there will be adequate servicing facilities, and that it comes down to having two sets of laws.

The actual committee vote was more bipartisan than the above comments might indicate. However, as best we know, last year there were no Republican votes in the Senate for this bill (since the bill didn’t get called, there was no recorded vote). That is something we hope to see change.

Bills similar to SB-214 have made it out of committee in the past but haven’t made it across the finish line. The Senate is the next stop for SB-214.

We think that Representative Steinberg is spot on. This industry is changing but it needs to change faster. Consumers overwhelmingly support this legislation. Now is the time to tell your legislators that you support the free-market and consumer choice, and that the current, antiquated laws are holding back EV adoption.

You can use this page to find your state senator and representative.

The Tribulations of Buying An EV From A Dealership – Lived Experience

This is an email that was sent to the EV Club on March 9, 2022 by a member, Svetlana Wasserman, from Greenwich. It is the text of a letter that she sent to her CT State Representative, reprinted in full with her permission. It speaks for itself.

EV Direct Sales

I just wanted to share with you the letter I sent to my representative, Harry Arora:
Dear Representative Arora,
I’m writing to you with regard to the direct sales of electric vehicles bill, SB214. It is my great chagrin that this bill, which is a commonsense, free market, pro-consumer bill to allow manufacturers of electric vehicles to sell their cars directly to customers, has not yet passed. I have watched year after year as the lobbyists for the traditional dealerships claim that the direct sales bill is anti-consumer.
Please allow me to share my experience of attempting to buy an electric vehicle from a traditional dealer.
When I was shopping for an electric vehicle in 2020, like most auto-shoppers, I wanted to see it and test drive it. I called the Hyundai dealer in Stamford and asked if they had the Kona in stock. They did not. I asked them which dealership had the Kona. They said they could not tell me because each dealership is its own franchise and they did not share a database. They did tell me that if I was ready to place the order right now, they could have one delivered for me. I explained that I was not about to buy a car sight unseen.
Next I called the White Plains Hyundai. They did not have it in stock either. So I called the Fairfield Hyundai, and received the same answer. I begged to speak to a manager, and after explaining what I had been through, he offered to do some research to find which Hyundai dealer had the Kona in stock and call me back. When he called back he told me that the Hyundai in ALBANY, NY had a Kona in stock, and would I like to make an appointment to see it?
I asked this manager why it is so hard to see and test drive their electric vehicle. He told me it was because very few customers are buying it. Well, I wondered, how are customers going to be buying it when they can’t even see it?
Next I tried to test drive the Kia Niro at the dealership in Stamford. This time I was lucky because they had it in stock. When I arrived for my appointment, there was a bit of confusion because no one knew where the car was. Eventually, they found it….at a parking lot in another location. Someone drove over to get it, and after 30 minutes of this kerfuffle, the car showed up. After a very brief overview….because the dealer admitted she did not know much about this car…she turned it over to us to test drive. Except there was one problem. The car was at 7% battery and was sounding all kinds of alarms about being at low battery. Unfortunately, our dealer had no idea where the charge port was, and a second commotion ensued as the staff tried to find someone who knew how to charge the car. Eventually, they found a gentleman who did, and he asked us if we would like to test drive one of their gas models while we wait for the electric Niro to charge up.
Needless to say, we did not buy the Kona or the Niro from the traditional CT dealers. We drove across the border to Mt. Kisco, NY where we were able to test drive a Tesla and have a pleasant experience, and lunch in a NY restaurant to boot.
I don’t know why the auto dealers do such a terrible job promoting electric cars. Perhaps they just don’t know enough about them. Or perhaps they understand that sales of EVs harm their bottom line on the auto repair side of their business because electric vehicles require virtually no maintenance. I’ve driven EV’s for ten years and never had to do anything more than change the tires.
So if the dealers want to come before you and tell you they oppose this bill because they don’t want competition from EV manufacturers, or they don’t give a hoot about lowering emissions or meeting our state’s greenhouse gas targets, or they don’t want to promote job creation from the opening of new EV dealerships, that’s fine. Just please don’t let them tell you they are doing it to protect consumers.
I hope that you will do your utmost to help pass SB214 this year.
Svetlana Wasserman

Changes Coming to CHEAPR?

Help Needed to Remedy Persistently Low Rebate Levels

As can be seen in the chart at the top, the rebate count for January was exceedingly low with only 40 rebates, just over half of the low number of 78 from January 2021.

Continuing recent trends, the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid dominated with 17 rebates, with PHEVs overall accounting for 28 of the 40 rebates.

January 2022 CHEAPR rebates by model

Some changes could be afoot if SB-4, raised jointly by the Transportation and Environment Committees of the legislature, become law. There are several CHEAPR-related provisions included in the draft text. This is the description to the best of our knowledge.

Environmental Justice Focus

There is a statement of purpose now that focuses on environmental justice communities and lower income individuals. It is phrased as, “The commissioner shall prioritize the granting of rebates to residents of environmental justice communities, residents having household incomes at or below three hundred per cent of the federal poverty level, and residents who participate in state and federal assistance programs, including, but not limited to, the state-administered federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, state-administered federal Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, or a Head Start program established pursuant to section 10-16n. The program shall provide rebates of five thousand dollars to residents of environmental justice communities.”

This represents a loosening of rules for income limited individuals, often referred to by the shorthand LMI. Currently, only participants in state and federal assistance plans are eligible for the Rebate+ incentives and very few have been used. There were zero in January. This expansion to 300% of the federal poverty level should expand the pool. The poverty level for a family of 4 is $27,750. Aside from an overly limited applicant pool, the rebate+ incentives arguably suffer from being awarded after the fact. If that can be addressed, it would be up to DEEP and the board to determine the process.

The LMI incentive is increased to $5000. Currently, a BEV carries a total incentive of $4250. It is not clear if $5,000 applies to everything.

Standard Rebate and Higher MSRP Cap

The standard rebate still exists and the rules are below.

MSRP cap increase to $50,000. This is the level where it was before being lowered in 2019 to $42,000, which began the chronic underspending and has more recently resulted in a program tilted heavily toward PHEVs. For example, over the past 4 months, BEVs accounted for 30% of CHEAPR rebates, but represent 59% of all registered EVs.

While the EV Club has pushed for a restoration of the $50,000 level for the past couple of years, in the current inflationary environment, it arguably could be higher. The average transaction price of an EV, according to Kelly Blue Book, is $56,437 (excluding Tesla). The marketplace has blown through the cap level.

Inclusion of Fleets

Expansion of program to include municipalities, businesses, organizations, and tribal entities. These organizations are entitled to up to 10 rebates per year up to a max total of 20. Organizations located in an environmental justice community can receive more at the discretion of the DEEP Commissioner. This could be a big help.


eBikes are now included with a rebate of $500 for a bike costing no more than $2,000. In the Transport Hartford/Center for Latino Progress meetings, they have said that $2,000 isn’t enough for a quality bike. We support eBike rebates, along with their efforts to advocate for a higher price cap.

Higher Budget

The CHEAPR budget established in the 2019 legislation is $3MM per year, which has been underspent since the day it started. With the expansion of incentives described in this post, the spend level looks to be considerably higher. The proposed legislation authorizes the program to spend “a minimum of $3MM per year.” This indicates that more funds are forthcoming, but it doesn’t specify a cap. CHEAPR funding comes from the clean air fees collected as part of auto registration. These fees bring in about $8MM per year. $3MM have been going to CHEAPR with the rest having gone to the general fund. The new legislation designates that 57.5% go to transportation funding, though it is possible that other programs could be included.


There are proposed changes to the board, specifically the inclusion of a “representative of an association representing electric vehicle manufacturers,” and a “representative of an association representing electric vehicle consumers.” For the former, we don’t know if this is a way to draw in the new EV-exclusive manufacturers or if it can be filled by an organization such as the Automotive Alliance which represents legacy OEMs. The manufacturer representative is appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore. The consumer organization representative is appointed by the House minority leader. These replace 2 current positions appointed by the same individuals. Those positions are currently filled and it is not known if those people will depart.

There are also a couple of unfilled board positions, appointed at large by DEEP, and designated for representatives of an industrial fleet or transportation company.

The board is characterized as operating in an advisory capacity so it is not completely clear how much power they have when it comes to setting policy.

Other Legislative Items

In this and other bills, there are other items of note.

  • Right to charge legislation to make it easier for residents (owners and renters) to be able to install a charging station.
  • Adoption of California medium and heavy duty vehicle emission standards, pending results of DEEP analysis. (Does anyone seriously doubt we desperately need this??) Update: DEEP released their expected endorsement of this measure on March 9th. (This is bill HB-5039.)
  • Allowance for school to enter into 10-year contracts for EV school buses. Currently, only 5-year contracts are allowed. For EV buses, 10 years are needed to make the numbers work.
  • Accelerated purchases of smart traffic signals (yes, this really does reduce emissions).
  • EV charging stations that go beyond the federal Infrastructure bill and highway corridors to cover communities with lack of charging access.
  • Active transportation – pedestrian and bike paths.
  • Any project involving state funds must not add to carbon emissions. If it does, there needs to be offsets.


We are supportive this bill. There are many good things in it. We would prefer an MSRP cap of $55,000 for CHEAPR to reflect the realities of the electric car marketplace, as well as a higher cap on the cost of eBikes.

Go here to find your legislators and contact information.

The Transportation Committee and the Environment Committee will hold a joint public hearing on Friday, March 11, 2022 at 11:00 A.M. via Zoom.  The public hearing can be viewed via YouTube Live.  In addition, the public hearing may be recorded and broadcast live on CT-N.com.  Individuals who wish to testify via Zoom must register using the On-line Testimony Registration Form.  Registration will close on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 3:00 P.M.  Speaker order of approved registrants will be posted on the Transportation Committee website on Thursday, March 10, 2022 at 6:00 P.M. under Public Hearing Testimony.  If you do not have internet access, you may provide testimony via telephone.  To register to testify by phone, call the Phone Registrant Line at (860) 240-0590 to leave your contact information.  Please email written testimony in PDF format to TRAtestimony@cga.ct.gov.  Testimony should clearly state testifier name and related Bills.  The Committee requests that testimony be limited to matters related to the items on the Agenda.  The first hour of the hearing is reserved for Legislators, Constitutional Officers, State Agency Heads and Chief Elected Municipal Officials.  Speakers will be limited to three minutes of testimony.  The Committee encourages witnesses to submit a written statement and to condense oral testimony to a summary of that statement.  All public hearing testimony, written and spoken, is public information.  As such, it will be made available on the CGA website and indexed by internet search engines.



If You Want To Get a Tesla in Connecticut, Go to Hertz

Post by Barry Kresch

Photo: EV Club members with a pre-production Rivian R1T

Consumers Must Leave the State to Buy an EV Not Sold Through a Dealership

If a consumer wants to go electric and buy or lease not only a Tesla, but also a Rivian or Lucid, to name two of a number of new EV manufacturing startups, they have to travel out of state to do so. For years, CT Tesla customers have been schlepping to Mt. Kisco, NY to pick up their vehicles. It’s long past time for this to stop.

SB 214 – An Act Concerning the Sale of Electric Vehicles In The State

A bill has been raised in the Transportation Committee, SB No. 214, that will amend the law to allow EV-exclusive manufacturers without an existing dealer franchise network to open stores and sell directly to consumers, “direct sales” for short.

The EV Club of CT supports this bill as the current situation is anti-consumer, anti-free-market, holds our state back from achieving its EV adoption goals, and forces its citizens to breathe dirty air. The transportation sector is responsible for 38% of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, not to mention other pollutants such as particulate matter, making it the most polluting sector.

EV Deployment Is Far Behind Target

The state has signed a resolution committing to getting 150,000 EVs on the road by 2025 and 500,000 by 2030. We have a long way to go as we are only 14% of the way to our 2025 goal and 4% of the way to the 2030 goal. If you want to see a depressing visual, click here. We need all hands on deck.

Background: The Franchise Laws

These laws are what currently prohibit Tesla and other companies from opening stores in CT. They were written long ago to protect dealerships from being bullied by their own affiliated manufacturers. These laws are not about the consumer and never were.


The language in these franchise laws requiring new vehicles to be sold by an independent business has been conveniently repurposed to exclude new EV manufacturers from opening stores in CT. In other words, the laws are now being used for protectionism.

The Federal Trade Commission has written, “A fundamental principle of competition is that consumers – not regulation – should determine what they buy and how they buy it. Consumers may benefit from the ability to buy cars directly from manufacturers – whether they are shopping for luxury cars or economy vehicles. The same competition principles should apply in either case.”

The Union of Concerned Scientists wrote, “…the dealer franchise laws represent not only a ban on Tesla, but a ban on all innovation in distribution methods.” Also, “There is no justification on any rational economic or public policy grounds for such a restraint of commerce.” They also cite studies showing that these laws restricting new distribution models serve to “raise the average vehicle cost by 8.6%.”

Dealer franchise laws have also been criticized from the right. The Koch brothers signed onto a letter opposing the Michigan version of this law. Their libertarian instincts chafe at the anti-free-market nature of these laws. And the CATO Institute has described these circumstances, “Where state legislatures are captured by rent‐​seeking incumbent market participants…” which impose “unnecessary transactions cost.”

These are but a few examples of the many organizations that support direct sales.

There has also arguably been spillover from the dealership laws as the Hoffman Auto Group, which owns dealerships in CT, has used them as a basis to file a lawsuit to prevent Tesla from opening a planned second service center in East Hartford. It seems Hoffman’s strategy is to make the experience of owning a Tesla as difficult as buying one.

Consumers Want The Freedom To Buy An EV However They Choose

Consumers have made it clear that they should have the freedom to choose where and how to buy or lease an EV.

In a poll taken last year, an identical proposed law, SB 127, polled at an 83% level of support among likely voters in CT. This support cut across party affiliation, age, income level, and ethnicity.

The Transportation Committee held a public hearing on last year’s direct sales bill, SB 127. There are 81 testimonies posted on its website. If one excludes the 9 from individuals associated with the dealerships and the 3 from Tesla, Rivian, and Lucid, we are left with 69 from members of the public at large. All 69 of them were in favor of direct sales. Even with this overwhelming level of support, there was not a single Republican vote in the Senate and an insufficiency of Democratic votes to pass the bill.

Is The Dealership Model Better For Consumers?

During this current period of supply chain turmoil, many dealers have been marking up the cost of EVs (and presumably other vehicles) above MSRP. In a recent Washington Post article, it read “that Ford and GM have warned dealerships to stop selling vehicles above MSRP,” and that GM characterized these markups as “unethical.” So much for the multi-year argument dealerships been making that franchisees protect consumers. Below, from Edmunds.

Dealer Markups

One of the selling points for direct sales is that there is pricing transparency. You’re not required to give your email to get an online quote, you won’t be forced to visit a dealership to get a final price, you won’t have anyone pestering you afterward to buy the vehicle, and you’re not bombarded with after the sale upsells, or a surprise markup.

This opinion piece in the Washington Post by Ian Ayres, a law professor at Yale, discusses how for customers using dealer financing, the dealerships often markup the interest rate without disclosing this to the consumer. These hidden fees are legal, which they shouldn’t be, but their application in a discriminatory way is not. For example, Honda and Toyota have both settled lawsuits brought by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau for more than $20 million because minority borrowers were charged higher interest markups than equally qualified white borrowers.

Watch What They Do, Not What They Say

Are dealers selling EVs? We would like to see them be proactive in their EV sales efforts. Every year, they come before the legislature and profess to be invested in EVs. They talk a good game, but what are they actually doing?

The NY Times published an article in 2015 entitled, A Car Dealers Won’t Sell: It’s Electric.” That was 7 years ago and we have to make allowances for the possibility that things can change. Have they? Judging by data from the CT DMV, not so much. There are 8944 registered Teslas in CT. The number 2 make is Toyota with 3238. Of course, the Toyotas are plug-in hybrids. The make that is number two in BEVs is Chevrolet with 824. Teslas comprise 71% of all the battery electric vehicles currently registered in the state. In 2017, when I first began tracking this, that number was 61%.

This is from an article in TechCrunch, published in 2017, in which the first sentence proclaims, “Mercedes-Benz is the latest automaker to embrace electrification, announcing that it will be electrifying its entire vehicle lineup by 2022,” according to Mercedes-Benz chief Dieter Zetsche. There are 21,382 EVs in CT as of January 1, 2022. 75 are Mercedes.

The headline from a Bloomberg story in January reads,  “Car Dealership Laws Aren’t Fit for the Electric Age.” The first sentence: “More EVs are being sold in states that allow direct sales.”

And the manufacturers have their own imperatives. From Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Kevin Tynan, “If Ford could sell one million Lightnings a year, they wouldn’t,” he explains. “The reason why EV penetration is as low as it is in the U.S., is because that’s what automakers want it to be. People think it’s the consumer pulling — it’s not; it’s the automaker’s pushing.”

This really does matter when it comes to EV adoption, states with uncapped direct sales had 6.8 registered BEVs per 1000 registrations. Closed states had 1.4. CT is a closed state. How much closer to our EV deployment goals would we be and how much healthier would our air be to breathe if we were an open state? 

Will Direct Sales Drive the Dealerships Out of Business?

Whenever they testify, that is pretty much what they say will happen. There was one dealer who said during testimony that if direct sales passes, he will immediately start laying off employees. AND IT WILL BE THE FAULT OF THE LEGISLATORS!

The truth is the dealers want it both ways. They say their model is better for consumers. If they really believe that, then why the need for these restrictions in the first place? Then in the next sentence, they’ll say their businesses will implode.

Direct sales has been around for as long as 10 years in some states. So we have comparables! And the dealers are doing just fine in open states according to data from their own national association. A study by the Acadia Center documented this in states near to ours.

Closing Thoughts

The question of how dealerships and the legacy automobile industry writ large will ultimately fare is up to them. If they innovate and compete, they’ll be fine. A few of them have embraced EVs, but judging by the results, not nearly enough. In CT, the dealership special interests have thus far been given the message that they can sit back and not worry about it, that change can happen on their timetable.

There are many EV Club members who own or have ordered a Tesla or are reservation-holders for Rivian or Lucid. For those of us who have made the trek to Mt. Kisco to pick up a Tesla, it stares us in the face that the jobs to build, staff, and maintain the facility are in New York and the company pays property taxes to Mt. Kisco. All of these companies stand ready to invest in CT. And others, as well. CT is sending the wrong kind of signal to any company that is part of the green economy.

Allowing direct sales will help CT meet its EV adoption objectives, will create green jobs, and, most importantly, it is what is right for the citizens of CT Consumers. Tell your legislative representatives that you support SB 214.

How You Can Help

Contact your state senator and state representative. This page will enable you to find out who they are: https://www.cga.ct.gov/asp/menu/cgafindleg.asp

Clicking on their name will take you to their contact form. Tell them you support SB 214 because allowing direct sales allows for free-market innovation enabling consumers to buy the EV of their choice in the manner of their choosing. It will accelerate EV adoption, create jobs, and let the companies of the new green economy know that CT is open for business.

Also, contact your mayor or first selectman and ask them to support SB 214 and contact the legislators who represent their town. Their voices carry weight with the legislature.




Looking Back, Moving Forward

Looking in the Rearview Camera Back Over a Busy 2021

As the year winds to a close, we take this opportunity to give our sincere thanks to all who have joined us for our meetings, events, advocacy, and information efforts. We look forward to seeing you in 2022!


2021 was a disappointing year for climate legislation with our top priorities of direct sales, TCI, and adoption of the California emission standards for medium and heavy-duty vehicles not making it through the legislature.

The EV Club worked with the other members of the CT EV Coalition on these efforts but the Club was the tip of the spear on direct sales. We wrote blog posts and op-eds such as here (Hartford Courant)and here (CT Mirror). We called, emailed and met with legislators and gave testimony in support of SB 127, a bill we call EV Freedom. Our social media team did an outstanding job promoting direct sales and debunking bad PR meant to sow confusion and doubt about direct sales. Club member Will Cross – also Communications Director for Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut – built a platform, evfreedomct.com, to educate and inform the public about the bill, allow readers to show support by signing a petition and using social media to reach legislators and share excellent EV footage debunking many of the myths being advanced about direct sales.

The EV Freedom Bill made it out of the Transportation Committee but did not get called for a vote in the Senate. We were told that we were 1 vote shy. The bill will be reintroduced by Senator Haskell in 2022.

We held a well-attended press conference, as seen in these photos, with state officials, environmental organizations, labor, and others speaking.

Crowd at SB 127 Press ConferenceBarry Kresch, EV Club President, Speaking at SB 127 Press ConferenceSenator Haskell, Senator DuffModel Y and Lucid Air

We had support from Tesla and Lucid and were graced by the presence of a Model Y and the Lucid Air. Also, Rivian brought a pre-production R1T to Hartford and gave rides to legislators, followed by a small reception for club-members in New Haven. This was the vehicle’s first appearance in the state.EV Club CT and Rivian R1T


We thank the bill sponsors, Senator Haskell and Representative Steinberg, our friends at the CT Tesla Owners Club, and all of our members and others who reached out to their representatives, wrote an op-ed, or gave testimony before the legislature.

The only way this bill will pass is if constituents keep the pressure on. 2022 is an election year and it is the time to make our voices heard. We will be asking everyone to reach out again. Each year starts anew. If you have contacted your representatives in the past, memory is fleeting; it is important to do so again. Our state’s ability to meet its EV and emission reduction goals depends on it, not to mention that it has overwhelming consumer support. We will be communicating more specifics about the policy agenda for 2022 as they become available.

The footprint of the club continues to expand. We have now become a go-to source for press when comments about EV-related news are sought, including a recent, not as yet published article from CNN.com. The EV Club has also been invited to sit on the policy committee of the (national) Electric Vehicle Association (formerly the Electric Auto Association) even though we are not a chapter. The EVA formally endorses direct sales and will be another resource for us.


  • The EV Club again partnered with Sustainable Fairfield to stage an EV Parade from Westport to Fairfield for National Drive Electric Week (NDEW). This year it was followed by an EV showcase at the parade terminus with speakers. Cars parked before the EV parade - EV C;lub CT
  • We supported as best we could other NDEW events held around the state, such as a successful event at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain.
  • We were pleased to again support the Electric Car Guest Drive folks at their ride and drive event in Montgomery, NY.

Speaking Engagements

  • AIACT – All electric home and BEVs webinar for architects
  • Sustainable Essex – Deep dive into EV charging
  • Route 7 EV Corridor dedication

Barry Kresch from EV Club of CT and other speakers at ribbon cutting for Route 7 EV Corridor designation

  • Municipal Police EV Adoption Workshop
  • West Hartford Environment Committee
  • Sustainable Weston
  • Sierra Club Hartford
  • Save the Sound Legislative Panel
  • Webinar (Please subscribe to our YouTube Channel!) – How to Save on an EV and Get Free Charging

(We will be updating our incentive content. There is a lot of news on the near-term horizon with the PURA/utility incentives about to be finalized, and the possibility of major changes to the federal purchase incentive in the Build Back Better bill.)


  • Two updates to the EV Dashboard with more charts added.
  • Track of CHEAPR performance, which continues to under-perform (that means allocated funds are underspent)
  • Financial Analysis of Westport Police Model 3 patrol car, along with modeling out the financial implications for fleet adoption.

Select Meeting Speakers

  • Marissa Gillett, Chair of Public Utilities Regulatory Authority, spoke about the upcoming EV Rate Design.
  • Congressman Himes – A look forward to climate legislation
  • Citizens Climate Lobby – Dr. Roger Kuhns discussed a proposal for a carbon tax with dividend.
  • Stephen Wagner of South Windsor Planning and Zoning discussed using zoning regulations to improve charging access
  • Kim Pacquette, early Tesla FSD beta tester spoke early in the year, followed by a recent panel of local drivers who have the received the recent upgrade

Westport Fire Department

EV Club Members loaned their vehicles for training so first responders can learn how to handle the cables and where to cut if necessary. We have had another request, this one from the Bethel Fire Department. We are waiting on a firm date before asking for volunteers. All that is involved is leaving the vehicle for a few hours so they can look at the wiring.

Firefighters observing the wiring on a Tesla Model 3

Club members participated in a fund-raiser to help Louisiana residents after the hurricanes. It was a grassroots effort driven by Tesla owners and coordinated with local LA resident, Clean Technica journalist, Johnna Crider.

Finally, this post is being composed on giving Tuesday, though it most likely will not make it live until Wednesday (yep, that’s what happened). The EV Club does not take donations, but several of our esteemed partners on the EV Coalition would be happy for any largess, for example, Save the Sound, The Sierra Club, Acadia Center, League of Conservation Voters, Electric Vehicle Association. If you are considering further giving options this year, please consider them.

Please scroll to the bottom of the home page to fill out the form to join the club (free) and sign up for our email blasts inviting you to our virtual meetings and events.

Governor Lamont Meets with EV Club

The photo above shows the governor meeting with Bruce Becker, Analiese Paik, and Barry Kresch of the EV Club of CT. This was a meeting about how the environmental community can more effectively mobilize to support a progressive environmental agenda.