Big turn-out at Connecticut press conference including Lucid Motors, Rivian, Tesla, and EV owners advocating for SB 127 in-state direct-sales and deliveries

Posted by Paul Braren on Mar 22 2021 (updated on May 7 2021) in
  • Efficiency
  • EVs
  • Tesla
  • May 07 2021 Update - No word on SB 127 lately, follow @EVClubCT to stay updated. See also CT Coalition Letter_SB 127_210402v1.pdf, Direct Sales Nationwide Organizations Open Letter 4.13.pdf, and Direct Sales Nationwide Academics Letter 4.14.pdf that have all been added to EV Club of CT's new EV Freedom for CT page, a locus for SB 127 related content.

    Mar 24 2021 Update - It appears from the committee meeting today that the bill has 26 Yes and 6 No votes, this is good! Next it goes to the chamber. Video replay of the press event appears below, see also EV Freedom Bill Unshackled - Transportation Committee Vote Moves Bill to Full Chamber. Note, Tesla is keeping its “Engage” page live for ease of contacting your legislators, since this isn't over yet. See also Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont's public endorsement of SB 127.*

    Tesla Model Y at left. The Lucid Air at right was first revealed to the world less than 2 weeks ago!

    Today was the big event, learn all about the back story in my recent, detailed article:


    Table of Contents

    Event Promotion, with my response.

    Proposed Bill No. 127

    The actual name of the SB 127 is Proposed Bill No. 127 "AN ACT CONCERNING THE SALE OF ELECTRIC VEHICLES IN THE STATE", here's it is, in its entirety:

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    1 That title 14 of the general statutes be amended to permit the
    2 Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to issue a new or used car dealer's
    3 license to an electric vehicle manufacturer, provided such manufacturer
    4 does not have a franchise agreement with any new car dealer in the
    5 state, manufactures only electric vehicles and demonstrates a
    6 sustainable business model for providing service and repairs to such
    7 electric vehicles.
    Statement of Purpose:
    To permit electric vehicle manufacturers to sell electric vehicles directly to the consumer.

    My Experience


    Getting to meet many masked EV owners and EV-curious bystanders in Westport today was actually quite a bit of fun on this gorgeous weather day off from work. I'd say about 100 folks in attendance is an impressive showing given it's a work day. Not only did I get a chance to speak with multiple representatives from Tesla, I also had a chance to have conversations with friendly folks from Rivian and from Lucid Motors. By the way, it's kind of a big deal having the Lucid Air here, as their CEO Peter Rawlinson revealed public video of it less than 2 weeks ago!

    I got to hang out with the likes of Rich Jordan and Will Cross from the Tesla Owner's of Connecticut @CtTesla, along with Ryan Quarles of @TeslaCaching, with somebody counting something like 40 Tesla EVs at the event.

    It was also really great to catch up with Westport Police Chief Foti Koskinas as his department's Model 3 has been on the road over a year now. It turns out he is delighted at the money savings already, with more details on that coming up soon. I even had a chance to record a brief walk-around 4K video with him, to go with my detailed article on that first-of-its-kind EV.


    Today, it quickly became abundantly clear to me that not only was the support from multiple direct-sales EV manufacturers clearly there, in-person, equally important, dozens of efficiency-minded drivers and humans showed up in support too. It seems everybody would like to breath cleaner air too, go figure. It's pretty dire in much of Connecticut, especially nearer to New York City where this event took place, as seen pictured at right.

    I personally quite enjoyed those great photo opportunities, with a special thanks owed to Barry Kresch for helping with arranging to get some of these photos taken long after the press conference had ended. As a member of the EV Club of CT's leadership team helping out with Twitter and YouTube, this was a glorious day for multi-EV-brand photos!

    The rest of this article is a collection of pictures, videos, and social media posts related to this #EVfreedomCT event. If you're following what's happening in the EV industry in the US right now, you might find this story of interest, unfolding in Connecticut now and in Texas soon. Or just enjoy the pics, it's all good. The faster we electrify vehicles, the better it is for all of us, moving us toward a more sustainable future. It's encouraging to see majority of the big auto-makers recently announcing their electrification plans, and even Volvo going with direct-sales for it's EVs.

    Speaker List

    Here's the list of speakers at today's press conference, in chronological order:

    1. Sen. Will Haskell, SB 127 Co-sponsor, Senate Chair Transportation Committee
    2. Barry Kresch, President of the EV Club of Connecticut
    3. Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, SB 127 Co-sponsor
    4. Jim Marpe, Westport First Selectman
    5. Jeff Curry, Lucid Motors
    6. Lori Brown, League of Conservation Voters
    7. Daniel McInerny, IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers)
    8. Bob Duff, Sen. Majority Leader
    9. Art Linares, Former Sen. Leader
    10. David Pogue, Journalist for New York Times and Yahoo Finance
      David had a conflict and was unable to attend in-person, but he kindly offered this audio presentation:

    Press Conference Video

    EV Club of CT - Mar 22 2021 - Connecticut Press Conference about EV Freedom Bill SB 127 to permit in-state EV deliveries. Recorded by EV Club of CT, Edited by Tesla Owner's Club of Connecticut.
    Click/tap for Facebook Live 720p playback of the entire press conference, actual speeches start at 24 min 44 seconds. Unedited, uncut. Edited version to be published later on March 23 2021, to be added right below this video.

    Sen. Haskell, co-sponsor of bill SB 127


    Barry Kresch, President of EV Club of Connecticut


    Lucid Motors - Jeff Curry


    Rivian - Kaitlin Monaghan

    EV Club of CT YouTube Channel - Apr 05 2021 - Connecticut Governor Lamont endorses SB 127 bill to allow direct-sale EV makers in Connecticut
    EV Club of CT YouTube Channel - Mar 21 2021 - EV Club of Connecticut & Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut perspective on EV Freedom Bill SB 127
    EVClubCT YouTube Channel - Mar 22 2021 - First time together ever, Tesla Model Y & Lucid Air at a public gathering in support of #EVfreedomCT
    TinkerTry YouTube Channel - Mar 22 2021 - Revisiting Westport Connecticut's Tesla Model 3 Police Cruiser after 1 year/13,000 miles of service

    News Video

    News 12 - Mar 22 2021 - Tesla pushes to sell electric cars directly to customers in CT instead through dealerships


    • All tweets with the #EVfreedomCT hashtag

    • More tweets

    • Instagram

    Mar 23 2021 Update

    It turns out that yesterday, I was using the very first solar powered charging stations in the state while parked during this event. Who knew? Sure seems to be a great use for a south-facing Metro North Train Station roof. This morsel of knowledge, and a whole lot more wisdom from years of experience with EVs and legislature are all infused in this new EV Club of CT article about this SB 127 press conference, enjoy!

    Mar 24 2021 Update

    Unofficial tally of votes by EV Club of Connecticut, 26 Yes, 10 No.
    CGA - Transportation Committee - Philip Mainiero's Zoom Meeting - Mar 24 2021. Jump to 7 minutes and 38 seconds to get to the start of the proceedings.

    The preliminary, unofficial tally as of 1pm Mar 24th, by EVClubCT members who listened to the Zoom live. It currently appears the votes look favorable for this to move out of committee and into the chamber, with approximately (based on an imperfect Zoom call) 25 Yes, 10 No.

    Sen. Somers expressed her strong disagreement.

    Will Haskell replied to Sen. Somer's objections with a description of why EVs tend to go with a direct-sales model, including that there are less moving parts to service. Basically, saying the dealership model is incompatible with the dealership model. He also politely asked it not be seen as the "Tesla Bill" as it's also about Rivian, Lucid, and other EV makers too.

    Rep. Steinberg summarized how the market will need to shift for these new jobs, and the market place will make this happen with our without us, and he doesn't want to see Connecticut fall further and further behind. The marketplace will determine who succeeds and who doesn't.

    For me, it was unfortunate to hear how Tesla continued to be positioned as a seemingly premium-only EV, but I'll politely add that the most popular EV of them all in the US right now is the Model 3, and the Tesla Model SR+ model is currently at $37,990. This is actually lower than the $40,107 average new car purchase price here in the US currently. While it's true that Tesla started out high, their mission has always been to get a mass market EV out that lowers industry prices, and with the arrival of the Model 3 in 2017 and the Model Y in 2020, they've succeeded. We may even see $7000 Federal Tax credits this year, which could bring that Model 3 down to $30,990. Tesla is also very publicly striving for that $25K price point as soon as possible, and they have a track record of setting some pretty ambitious goals and actually achieving them ). They might even go or maybe even $19K.

    It was also unfortunate to hear some arguments based on information that wasn't factually accurate.

    I'm personally quite relieved that this bill has finally made it past committee, this is good news.

    See also at TinkerTry


    See also

    • Stories about SB 127 passing committee from Mar 24 to Mar 25

    • Tesla gets one step closer to direct sales in Connecticut as Transportation Committee approves State Bill 127
      Mar 24 2021 by Darryn John at Drive Tesla

      State Senator Will Haskell and state Representative Jonathan Steinberg introduced the bill as a way to help boost EV adoption in Connecticut, where on 13,000 EVs have been registered so far. That number falls far behind their target of 500,000 EVs by 2030.

      SB 127 sets several stipulations that EV manufacturers must follow in order to obtain a new or used car dealer license. This includes not having franchise agreements with any new car dealers and only selling their own vehicles.

    • Tesla, Lucid, Rivian, & Other EV Makers Scored A Win In Connecticut
      Mar 24 2021 by Johnna Crider at CleanTechnica

      The EV Club of Connecticut and the Tesla Owners Club of Connecticut have been working tirelessly to spread education about EVs and awareness about the importance of allowing EV makers to sell to their own customers. Honestly, the idea that EV makers can’t sell directly to consumers sounds a bit mad.

    • Are EVs destroying the car dealership?
      Mar 23 2021 by David Ferris for E&E News

      Electric vehicles are starting to worry traditional auto dealerships, and the stress is fueling a bitter fight with new electric automakers like Rivian.

      Across the country, upstart EV makers are trying to persuade state legislatures that the normal rules for selling cars shouldn't apply to them, in part because they help the climate. The outcome of their pleas will shape how Americans shop for cars.

    • Connecticut — SB 127
      Make your voice heard by contacting members of the joint Connecticut Transportation Committee

      Mar 23 2021
      Mar 23 2021 by Tesla at Engage Tesla
      This post is the 4th post ever on this powerful new platform! Every contact by citizens of CT that are for the passing of SB 127 is needed urgently. I tested this big SEND A MESSAGE button myself to send a thoughtful, personalized email. Here's an excerpt of the post:


      Under current state law, new electric vehicle manufacturers like Tesla are blocked from opening licensed sales locations in Connecticut.

      However, the Transportation Committee is now considering SB 127, a legislative bill that would allow the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles to issue a new or used car dealer’s license to an electric vehicle manufacturer, if that manufacturer does not have—and has never had—a franchise in Connecticut. Effectively, this would allow EV manufacturers to sell and service electric vehicles in Connecticut...The full list of Transportation Committee members can be found here.

    • Well-Attended Press Conference Shows Support For EV Direct Sales
      Mar 23 2021 by Barry Kresch at EV Club of CT

      Grassroots Momentum for the EV Freedom Bill

      The atmosphere was electric as about 100 EV enthusiasts came to Westport from all over the state for a press conference supporting The EV Freedom Bill, legislative bill number SB 127. Lame puns aside, I have been part of this EV Club for 9 years, and this issue feels like it has been around for most of them, but today felt different. The grassroots energy was palpable in a way that it hadn’t been in the past. Perhaps it is due to Tesla registrations having grown to almost 6,000 in the state. Or the excitement of new, really cool, EV companies entering the market also looking to sell direct.


    • Teslas are Still Illegal to Sell in Connecticut, But Lawmakers Could Help Change That
      Mar 22 2021 by Daniel Cappo at TorqueNews

      Previous Laws similar to this senate bill failed to be passed.

      There have been many attempts to try to pass bills in order to make it easier for consumers to bypass dealerships in the buying process. These bills never made it far. These previous attempts consisted of discussions about maybe putting a bill on the floor. As electric vehicles are becoming more popular, the debate over whether manufacturers can sell cars directly to consumers has been renewed.

    • Tesla Calls for Support of Connecticut Residents’ Right to Freely Buy EVs Direct from Manufacturer
      Mar 22 2021 by Eva Fox at Tesmanian

      Tesla is calling to support Connecticut residents in their right to freely purchase electric vehicles from manufacturers in their home state, without crossing its borders to do so. Under current law, new EV makers like Tesla are prohibited from opening licensed sales locations in the state, making life difficult for Connecticuters who are considering buying EVs.

    • Battle continues over how Tesla, other electric vehicle companies sell cars in CT
      Mar 22 2021 by Ken Houston at News 8 WTNH

      NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The battle continues over how Tesla sells its electric vehicles in Connecticut. Tesla wants to be able to sell directly to customers. But other care dealerships continue to push back against this.

      Teslas are popping up on showroom floors across the country, but not here in Connecticut.

      There more than 40,000 electric vehicles on the road – about 12,000 right here in Connecticut – but none were bought here. A new bill could change that.

    • Connecticut’s SB 127 And The Fight For EV Freedom
      Mar 20 2021 by Johnna Crider at CleanTechnica

      Paul also shared his thoughts about the hearing. Due to the pandemic, it was live-streamed through a Zoom meeting to any state resident, dealer, or manufacturer who pre-registered — including him. The topic, he noted, was SB 127 — which permits direct sales of EVs.
      Paul continued with another question that is crucial and drives home a point: “What does it convey about our state that the top company that engineering students want to work for is not even allowed to sell their products here?”

    What a pleasant surprise, recently finding myself reading my own name and article are not just mentioned, but highlighted. Wow, thank you so very much, Johnna Crider! See also her powerful, deeply personal story at Open Letter To Bernie Sanders From A Formerly Homeless American: Don’t Blame Elon Musk For American Poverty.

    Behind The Scenes

    News crews arriving.
    Lucid Air on wheel chocks for safety.
    Those are wide tires.
    Press gathering.

    Press Conference


    Tesla Model Y and Lucid Air

    Tesla Model Y, Lucid Air.

    Lucid Air

    That is a large frunk/front-trunk.

    Tesla Model Y

    Model Y with 21" Überturbine wheels.

    After The Press Conference

    That's EV Club of CT's Phil Levieff, Barry Kresch, Analiese Paik, Dawn Henry talking with Rep. Jonathan Steinberg.
    That's a pretty wild chrome wrap on the Tesla Model X at left, with stock blue Model Y at right.

    Tesla Model 3 Police Cruiser

    That's my Model 3 at left, and Westport Police Model 3 at right.
    Checking out those very-high-speed-rated tires, to see how well they survived 2 winters and 13,000 miles of police cruising over these past 14 months of service.
    Under the trunk electronics that power many of the vehicle's 12 volt accessories.