Tesla at Mohegan Sun casino soon - tribal land where Connecticut's protectionist car dealership laws don't apply

Posted by Paul Braren on Jul 26 2023 (updated on Jan 13 2024) in
  • Efficiency
  • EVs
  • Tesla
  • TinkerTry YouTube Channel, July 26 2023 - Thoughts on Mohegan Sun [Tribal Land] opening soon for Tesla direct-sales deliveries in Connecticut
    NEW! Dec 20 2023 - TinkerTry YouTube Channel - Tesla Electric Vehicle Showroom at Mohegan Sun - Speeches at Grand Opening, Dec. 20 2023
    Photo by Paul Braren, Jul 27 2023.

    It sure has been a long wait for Tesla EV car delivery to be possible right here in Connecticut, an issue that the EV Club of Connecticut has been trying to help address for over a decade! There have been so many years of citizens testifying in favor of so many bills that would allow for direct sales of EVs (and service) in Connecticut. Each year, powerful, well-funded dealership lobbies manage to dash the wishes of the voting constituency. Dealers even went so far as to sue the town of East Hartford for permitting a Tesla Service Center, dropping the suit right after the permit was revoked.

    That's right, it's 2023 and you still can't take delivery of a Tesla, Rivian, or Lucid anywhere in Connecticut, see:


    This isn't exactly ideal for many residents, but things are about to change. While we don't yet have a date for when the showroom will open, construction is due to start as soon as this week, with a "Coming Soon" sign going up today.

    While we don't have a date set for when the deliveries will start, it will be before the showroom is open, which is expected to be in the fall."

    See also Mohegan Sun Newsroom Press Release.

    Having just come back from a week in California, just how far behind we are on EVs here in Connecticut couldn't be more obvious to me personally. States that have direct sales of EVs within their borders experience more EV adoption overall, that's no surprise, with better incentives helping too. If we are to have any chance of staying anywhere near our climate change mitigation objectives:

    any moves in a more climate-friendly direction are welcome. This new location signals to Rivian, Lucid, and other new direct-sales EV companies that they may want to consider setting up shop here too. This is a good thing for EV buyers of any brand, and good for EV-related jobs including service, a line of work that is certain to grow immensely.


    There is another state that blazed this creative approach before Connecticut:

    • It's here: Tesla opens second New Mexico location
      Jun 1 2023 by Matthew Narvaiz at Albuquerque Journal

      New Mexico's two Tesla facilities sit on tribal lands because of a state law that, despite attempts to change it, prohibits vehicle manufacturers from selling directly to consumers rather than through a franchise dealership. Because they are on tribal lands, sales of vehicles from those facilities are not subject to state law.

      Officials say the new facility will create up to 25 jobs at full capacity. Additionally, tribal members now have direct access to training programs with Tesla — a move that pushes the local workforce toward clean energy jobs.

    It's a bit sad that our only viable recourse in this land of steady habits was to use tribal lands, but it's certainly a positive change in the right direction.

    Tesla employees had a temporary tent for test drives at Mohegan Sun Sky Tower, Saturday Sep. 5 2021. Photo by Paul Braren.

    Article by Paul Braren

    My Tesla Model 3 at University of Connecticut. Took delivery at Mt. Kisco, New York in Dec. 2018. Photo by Paul Braren.

    Details about the author here. Paul holds no stock in tech companies including Tesla, and has no relationship with Mohegan Sun.
    Follow Paul's work at:

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    Photo by Paul Braren, Jul 27 2023. Click/tap to Zoom in, double click/tap to zoom way in.
    Photo by Paul Braren, Jul 27 2023.
    Photo by Paul Braren, July 27 2023, some faces intentionally blurred.
    Photo by Paul Braren, Jul 27 2023.
    Tesla's booth at Sun BBQ Fest. Photo by Paul Braren, Sep 5 2021.


    • Jul 26 2023 07:01am eastern, article published.
    • Jul 26 2023 11:50am, article appended with links to EV Club's article and Mohegan Sun's press release.
    • Jul 26 2023 04:07pm, article appended with link to article from Patch.
    • Jul 26 2023 07:40pm, article appended with link to multiple new articles about this news.
    • Jul 27 2023 10:00pm, link to Mohegan Sun Press release sentence added near the beginning of this article, and Hartford Courant Article link appended, where I'm quoted. Photos taken on Jul 27 2023 by Paul Braren at Mohegan Sun added.
    • Jul 28 2023 05:10pm, video thumbnail updated, article hero image updated.
    • Jul 29 2023 10:34pm, WTNH's Jul 27 article and video pre-pended to the "See also" section.
    • Jul 30 2023 09:27am, put the maps into their own section, made caption clearer.
    • Jul 31 2023 12:00pm, WTNH's Jul 30 article and video pre-pended to the "See also" section. Note that Drive Tesla Canada has picked up on this surprising quote here, and published the relevant part of the video clip here.

    See also

    Includes sources.

    • Tesla skirts state laws to sell EVs at Mohegan Sun
      Jul 30 2023 11:23 am by News at WTNH (local ABC affiliate), where former Connecticut State Senator John McKinney said:

      I want to know who knew this was happening, do they object to it, and what’s gonna happen. Because there’s are a lot laws that we have in Connecticut that they can make an end around. And then there’s a lot of things Connecticut can do to make life very uncomfortable for the sovereign tribes.

    • Tesla accused of ‘evading the law’ to open facility at Mohegan Sun
      Jul 27 2023 by Tina Detelj

      Gov. Ned Lamont spoke about the decision on Thursday, a day after Tesla’s announcement.

      “I think it’s within Mohegan Sun’s right to do it,” he said. “They are a sovereign nation.”

      Gov. Ned Lamont wants more people to buy electric cars: ‘It’s the right thing to do’
      Bradley Hoffman, the co-chairman of Hoffman Auto Group, said the group’s issue isn’t with Mohegan Sun.

      “Our issue is with Tesla, and them frankly evading the law that is in Connecticut right now,” he said.

      Hoffman Auto Group doesn’t believe dealerships in the state — which already sell more than 65 different types of electric vehicles — will be affected. But, it is concerned the Tesla consumer won’t have dealership support.

    This re-print article is behind a paywall, but the original article is listed right below it and is not behind a paywall.




    • Tesla to use tribal land loophole to finally operate in Connecticut
      Jul 26 2023 by Fred Lambert at electrek

      The idea is that automakers couldn’t open a company-owned store next to a third-party dealer after they have made the investment to sell and service their cars. It would be unfair competition.

      Now, however, car dealerships are using those old laws to prevent automakers that never had deals with third-party franchise dealers, like Tesla, from selling their vehicles to the public, even though it’s fair competition. Tesla has been fighting those laws in many states with some success, but there are still a few states that are abusing these laws.

    • Tesla works around direct sales ban in Connecticut with plans to open showroom on Tribal land
      Jul 26 2023 by Darryn John at Drive Tesla Canada

      For years Tesla has been working to overturn legislation in Connecticut that only allows vehicles to be delivered to customers through a third-party dealership. This poses a problem for Tesla since they sell their cars directly to consumers, something that simplifies the buying process and avoids the need for a middle man, and all of the strings that come attached with that business model, but it also means customers can’t take delivery within the state.

    Teslas most recent attempt to overturn the law was last year, and like it’s previous attempts, the bill failed to pass. Now Tesla is taking matters into their own hands, and opening a delivery center on tribal land.

    • First Tesla Showroom in Connecticut Coming via Clever Loophole
    • Jul 26 2023 by Sarah Lee-Jones

      The unique showroom will provide guests with the opportunity to purchase Tesla’s popular models such as the Model Y, Model 3, and Model S. Additionally, visitors will be able to learn more about Tesla’s solar and storage products.


    • Tesla to Open Store in CT
      Jul 26 2023 by Barry Kresch at EV Club of Connecticut

      This limited exception arrangement applies only to Tesla (i.e. not Rivian or Lucid) and caps the store count. Tesla has been chafing at this limit for a long time. Every Tesla store or gallery in NY is in New York City, Westchester County, or Long Island. The entire upstate region has been unserved.

      We are also waiting to hear the word on whether deliveries to CT customers will be enabled at the forthcoming Chicopee, MA location. (It will be a while before that large facility is built.)

      The new Tesla facility, to be located at a former Victoria’s Secret outlet at the Mohegan Sun Casino, will sell and deliver vehicles. Renovation of the space is set to commence imminently and should be finished at some point this fall. Deliveries will begin before the facility is completed, and we will publish an update when that information is finalized. It is not a service-center.

    • CT is falling behind on climate
      Jul 17 2023 by Shannon Laun at CT Mirror

      Connecticut’s General Assembly has officially gone home after failing to pass a single piece of significant climate legislation.

      As Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes and several legislators pointed out in exasperation, the failure to act came as smoke from Canadian wildfires blanketed Hartford and the rest of the region, a harbinger of things to come if we continue failing to curb emissions.







    • smappen
      These helpful map images can't be published here, but you can visit this smappen link and it will visually show you that there are 2.3 million people within a 1 hour drive to Mohegan Sun. There are 6 million people within a 90 minute drive, but many of those folks are close to the Tesla of Milford (Service Only) or Tesla (Service and Deliveries) at Mt. Kisco, New York. For Connecticut residents, there are no deliveries of Tesla vehicles from Massachusetts or Rhode Island, currently their only option is from Mt. Kisco New York.

    See also at TinkerTry