While unconventional startups like Tesla and Elio are fighting the established car dealer/franchise model in a bid to sell direct to consumers, the state of Connecticut is trying a different approach: they’re going to turn the rebate model on its head and – instead of incentivizing people to buy electric cars – the state will incentivize existing dealers to sell more electric cars.
You can read more about Connecticut’s plans in the article, below, which originally appeared on our sister site, Cleantechnica.
Connecticut Tries Unconventional Approach To Supporting EV Sales
Connecticut recently began a new program aimed at boosting EV sales though the somewhat unconventional approach of incentivizing the dealers themselves, rather than the customers.
According to Navigant Research, the new approach will likely help motivate the dealers to put more effort into EVs than they have in the past — this previous lack of a strong push is at least partly down to the fact that, on average, EVs take longer to sell than conventional cars.
Image Credit: Dealership via Flickr CC
The new approach is based around the recent establishment of the Connecticut Revolutionary Dealer Award — which will be given to the “dealership that sells the highest percentage of EVs, as well as to the dealer that sells the most EVs in total,” though it’s not clear whether of not this award is financial or not. Presumably, it is, however, and Autoblog provides a bit more context here:
The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection recently unveiled what it calls its Connecticut Revolutionary Dealer Award and, in the process, became the first state in the nation to incentivize dealers. The state will be giving out one award to the dealer with the most plug-in vehicles sold during the six months ending July 31, and another award for the dealer with the highest percentage of plug-ins sold.
Connecticut is trying the dealer-centric method instead of offering a customer tax credit or rebate the way that states like California and the federal government do (the fed’s credit is obviously still available to Connecticut EV buyers). Connecticut has also given out more than $177,000 in incentives to entities that deploy plug-in vehicle charging stations. This is all to assist the state’s goal of having electric vehicles represent at least 10% of new vehicles sold by 2022.
Making friends with the dealerships rather than going to battle with them (a la Tesla)? Hard to say if it’ll work or not, but certainly a different approach.
With regards to the ongoing war between Tesla and the car dealerships — it looks as though Tesla may be getting some unexpected support on the matter from the Federal Trade Commission. In a surprise move, three officials from the FTC wrote an open letter sharply criticizing anti-Tesla legislation in several states.
Support from on-high like that certainly isn’t a bad sign, but it’s hard to say outright what kind of effect said support will have. The eventual end of the battle between Tesla and the dealers is probably still quite a ways off …