Supporters of a bill that would allow electric vehicle manufacturers to sell direct to consumers say Wisconsin needs to adapt to changing markets as opponents argue it would create major issues for locally-owned dealers already in the state.
SB 462 would allow EV manufacturers to purchase their own dealerships and sell only all-electric vehicles directly to consumers. The bill would not allow the same manufacturer-owned dealerships for hybrid-electric or alternative fuel-cell vehicles. Current law allows only independently franchised dealers to sell vehicles to consumers.
Bill author Sen. Dale Kooyenga, R-Brookfield, argued the bill would help Wisconsin stay current with market trends as people look to buy more environmentally friendly vehicles such as electric cars.
“Wisconsin is now dead last in this new, emerging industry,” Kooyenga said in a Senate Government Operations, Legal Review and Consumer Protection Committee public hearing.
But opponents, such as organizations representing car dealers and manufacturers, argue there is nothing stopping EV manufacturers from entering the market in the same manner as every other vehicle manufacturer.
Alliance for Automotive Innovation State Affairs Director Jeff Fisher during the hearing argued the bill is unfair because it allows all-electric vehicle manufacturers more ability to establish dealerships than those that do not make all-electric vehicles.
“There should be one set of rules for all manufacturers in the same marketplace,” he said.