August 25, 2021

TO: Members of the Senate Committee on Government Operations, Legal Review and Consumer Protection.
FROM: Tom Still, president of the Wisconsin Technology Council
RE: Senate Bill 462, relating to ownership, control, or operation of a motor vehicle dealership and performance of motor vehicle warranty service

Dear Chairman Stroebel and committee members:

The Wisconsin Technology Council supports SB 462 and its Assembly companion, AB 439, which allow manufacturers that produce only electric-powered automobiles to sell directly to consumers and perform warranty services.

This bill is consistent with several guiding principles of the Tech Council, which is an independent, non-profit company that has provided advice and recommendations to the governor and the Legislature since its creation in 2001.

Support innovation: The electric vehicle revolution is in full swing. While the nation’s vehicle fleet will not be fully electric for decades, the transition is well under way. Companies such as Tesla have helped set the pace with vehicles that are technologically advanced, simple in design and appealing to a certain segment of the marketplace. Other companies that manufacture all- electric vehicles are emerging, as well, and this legislation ensures they are also able to open their own dealerships and to provide service to customers in different ways.

First, do no harm: While some people think that phrase applies to the medical profession only, the Tech Council has traditionally supported legislation that opens the state to competition and innovation – and has opposed bills that put the state at a competitive disadvantage versus other states. This bill would make Wisconsin the 30th state to allow dealerships, charging stations and repair facilities for manufacturers who make and sell only electric-powered vehicles. That is good for consumers in Wisconsin and, ultimately, beneficial to the state.

Build on Wisconsin’s reputation as a tech-savvy state: Wisconsin’s technology footprint is remarkably diverse. Despite some perceptions to the contrary, the Badger state is not trapped in a 20th century economic model. Wisconsin is making important strides in the life sciences, information technology, “cleantech,” advanced manufacturing and much more. This bill represents a chance to demonstrate Wisconsin’s openness to technology, companies and investors that may want to call the state home.

Thank you for your time and continued interest in building the Wisconsin economy through innovation. On behalf of the Tech Council, I hope you can pass this bipartisan bill.