Electric automobile manufacturer Tesla has a Plan B in the event Connecticut lawmakers fail to pass H.B. 7097, the so-called “Tesla Bill” to enable direct sales of its vehicles to customers: opening as many as 10 “galleries” across the state.
In an interview with the New Haven Register, Diarmuid O’Connell, Tesla’s vice president of business development, insisted that the galleries would be used for informational and not commercial purposes. “Just by being in the market, we’re educating people about electric vehicles,” he said.
Tesla operates galleries in states where it is prevented from bypassing dealership networks in favor of direct customer sales. The gallery setup allows prospective buyers to look at and test drive the vehicles, but buying can only be made later via phone or the internet and delivery has to be handled out of state.
O’Connell added that the company is considering gallery locations across Fairfield County in Bridgeport, Danbury, Fairfield, Norwalk and Westport, along with other sites in Hartford, West Hartford and New Haven. The company already operates a gallery in Greenwich, but the status of that location is under dispute. Last month, the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles ordered Tesla to “cease all functions” at its 340 Greenwich Ave. location. That gallery is still open pending an appeal by the company.