HARTFORD — Electric and hybrid vehicles will take center stage at the Connecticut International Auto Show, which opens Friday and runs through the weekend.
The annual auto show at the Connecticut Convention Center comes as the state has announced additional funding for a program that offers a cash rebate of up to $3,000 for residents and $15,000 for municipalities purchasing an eligible electric vehicle under the Connecticut Hydrogen and Electric Automobile Purchase Rebate Program. The program is the first of its kind in the nation.
The car show is “the perfect time to focus attention on the advantages” of electric vehicles, said Commissioner Robert Klee of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection. “Putting more Connecticut drivers behind the wheel of an [electric vehicle] is what it will take to drive down harmful carbon emissions linked to climate change, reduce conventional pollutants that threaten our air quality and public health, and help motorists reduce the cost of owning and operating a car.”
“We’re doing just that by making an additional $1 million in funding available for a rebate program … and making another $1 million in grants available to state agencies and cities and towns who want to purchase electric vehicles for their fleets and install charging stations for public use,” he said.
Jim Fleming, president of the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, said the rebate program is a model for the nation.
“We want to highlight these electric vehicles,” Fleming said. “I’ve been to meetings all around the country and every time I go to a meeting people are asking us about the cheaper rebate program, so states are trying to duplicate what Connecticut is already doing.”
Among the vehicles on display will be the Toyota Mirai, powered by hydrogen fuel cell and the Audi A3 e-tron, a plug-in hybrid. Others include the Chevrolet Volt, Kia Soul EV, Hyundai Sonata Plug In, Nissan Leaf and the Volkswagen E-Golf.
“The transportation sector is responsible for about 40 percent of the carbon emissions in Connecticut and we must address that challenge if we are going to meet the state’s aggressive climate change target of reducing emissions 80 percent from 2001 levels by 2050,” Klee said. “In addition, motor vehicles fueled by gasoline and diesel are the primary source of pollutants that create smog – which causes illness, especially among infants, senior citizens and those prone to respiratory ailments.”
Klee also said the expanded consumer rebate initiative and new grant program for cities and towns and state agencies will help Connecticut meet its goals as part of an eight-state effort to put 3.3 million zero emission vehicles on the road by 2025.
There are 134 publicly available charging stations for electric vehicles across the state. These stations are part of a network of 187 publicly available charging stations with 419 plugs across in Connecticut.
Tickets for the auto show are $10 with roughly 30,000 to 40,000 people to come through over the course of the weekend.