State automobile retailers are hoping to educate consumers about the benefits of electric vehicles at the Connecticut International Auto Show this weekend.
For the last year and a half, auto dealers in Connecticut have been working with the Department of Environmental Protections, the Sierra Club, and the Connecticut Fund for the Environment to try and make it easier for consumers to understand how electric cars work, Jim Fleming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association said. This weekend’s show is the latest in a series of events highlighting electric cars.
The auto show is at the Connecticut Convention Center, 100 Columbus Boulevard, Hartford. The show opens at 10 a.m. Friday and runs through Sunday. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for children. Children younger than 6 get in for free. On Friday active military personnel can enter for free and senior citizens can get $2 off.
Proceeds will be put towards charitable contributions from the auto association, Fleming said.
The show will be open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, according to the Convention Center’s web site.
Electric cars would help Connecticut get closer to the air standards the Environmental Protection Agency wants the state to meet, Fleming said.
People at the show will be able to learn about them, comparing and contrasting them to other cars, Fleming said. Every type of car brand will be there, from starters all the way up to Porsches and Mercedes.
“No one is there to sell anything,” he said.
Plenty of traditional, gas-powered cars will also be on display for those not interested in electric cars, Fleming said.
Fleming said dealers are hoping the state legislature will be able to create incentives for people to buy electric cars. The federal government right now will give you $7,500 off an electric plug-in or zero-emission vehicle, and Massachusetts has adopted a $2,500 rebate, Fleming said.
“There are no guarantees” the state will adopt them, “but we think a rebate would help in Connecticut,” Fleming said.
He also hopes the legislature adopts a sales tax exemption on electric vehicles, as well as home charging stations for electric cars.
“I know there are a lot of issues with the budget, but this would help the state get to the standards” it’s agreed to meet, Fleming said.
The auto industry is doing much better this year than in year’s past, Fleming said. In 2009-10 Chrysler and GM went through bankruptcy and Connecticut lost 30 percent of its car dealers. Now sales are growing so the number of dealerships is growing, too, he said. Last year, about $9.47 billion in new cars were sold in Connecticut, according to the NADA, compared to $5-6 billion during the recession.