Lawmakers appeared to be in the mood to compromise after hearing testimony from Tesla owners and opposition for the first time on Friday. The bill which seeks permission for allowing Tesla motors to sell its electric cars directly to consumers in Connecticut has been a major matter of debate.
Tesla Motors founded in 2003 by a group of engineers is an American company that designs, manufactures, and sells electric cars and electric vehicle powertrain components. Tesla first gained widespread attention following their production of the Tesla Roadster, the first fully electric sports car. There has been no looking back since then. Their products don’t require the same maintenance as traditional automobiles with internal combustion engines. It already operates stores in about 20 states.
The General Assembly’s Transportation Committee is of the opinion that a compromise can be achieved which will allow Tesla to sell its products directly to the customers in the state however negotiations are still on.
The current state law prevents manufacturers from selling directly to consumers as a result of which Tesla has been denied a state dealership license.
Jim Chen, Tesla’s vice president of regulatory affairs said “We are looking for the opportunity to apply for and receive a dealer license subject to the same regulations as any other dealer. We’re getting shut out from that.”
Connecticut has nearly 300 auto dealers that employ about 14,000 people, according to the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association. The association has been strongly against the bill and wants Tesla to follow the existing pattern of dealership which protects customers from being duped or getting caught up in hassles.
Fleming the group’s chief said “It’s going to provide greater consumer protection to do it under laws, consumer protection laws, which have been on the books for nearly 40 years,”
Jeffrey Aiosa, president and owner of Carriage House Mercedes Benz in New London said that consumers would benefit if Musk sells his cars to dealers at a profit who in turn would sell them at a lower price to the customers and also offer dealership services to them. He said “The consumer wins if Elon Musk opens up his product to our network,”
Soon to be Tesla owner senator Art Linares, R-Westbrook said that his bill would only exempt Tesla from Connecticut’s dealership law as Tesla could create jobs for about 13000 people in Connecticut hence benefiting people in the long run.