HARTFORD, Conn. – The Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection is co-sponsoring a contest for the auto dealership that sells the most electric cars by July 31, but the Tesla Model S – arguably the hottest electric vehicle on the market – will be excluded because it is currently restricted by Connecticut law from being sold at retail to consumers in the state.
Tesla is a new automaker based out of Hawthorne, Calif. Its CEO is PayPal founder Elon Musk, who splits his time between the disruptive car company and his other role running SpaceX, a startup that launches cargo and soon people to the International Space Station. Tesla entered the market last year to rave reviews from automotive publications, including the highest rating ever issued by Connecticut-based Consumer Reports.
The electric car maker’s business model differs from traditional manufacturers in that the company sells and services its vehicles directly and not through franchised dealerships like other car manufacturers.
The problem for Tesla is that the retail sale of an automobile from a manufacturer to a consumer is illegal in many states, including Connecticut. So while it is legal for Connecticut residents to own and drive a Tesla Model S, they can’t actually purchase one from a retail location owned by the automaker because Tesla does not sell the car through locally owned franchised dealerships.
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