LAZ Parking plans to install over 50 Tesla charging stations across CT

Photo of Paul Schott
Ray Malkani, of Virginia, charges his Tesla vehicle at an Interstate 95 rest plaza on Nov. 27, 2019.

Ray Malkani, of Virginia, charges his Tesla vehicle at an Interstate 95 rest plaza on Nov. 27, 2019.

Matthew Brown / Hearst Connecticut Media

HARTFORD — LAZ Parking is adding 500 charging stations for Tesla electric vehicles at its sites across the country, with more than 50 new locations planned in Connecticut.

The initiative is a key component of Hartford-based LAZ’s plan to install in the next two to three years about 50,000 charging stations nationwide for Teslas and other types of electric vehicles. About 2,000 EV charging stations already operate at LAZ sites.

Tesla’s dominance in the electric-vehicle market figured prominently in LAZ’s decision, with company officials pointing to Tesla accounting for more than 85 percent of electric vehicles in use across the U.S.

“The future of automobiles is going electric,” LAZ CEO and Chairman Alan Lazowski said in an interview Wednesday. “We believe that the parking garage and lot is one of the great future electric gas stations of the future. It’s a convenient way to help the consumer.”

By hosting Tesla charging facilities, LAZ said it would be able to generate additional revenues for its clientele of property owners. The new chargers are being installed at residential locations and commercial sites such as hotels and retail centers.

In Connecticut, the new chargers would be installed in “every major city,” according to Lazowski.

Founded in Hartford in 1981, LAZ comprises one of the largest and fastest-growing parking companies in the U.S. It has 1.3 million parking spaces that it either owns, leases or manages across approximately 3,300 locations around the country, according to Lazowski.

“This initiative (with Tesla) is part of what we call LAZ PODS, which is proximity on demand for services,” Lazowski said. “We’re doing all types of alternative uses to help our customers and clients and provide services. Some of the other services we’ll be doing are last-mile delivery, same-day delivery and using garages as micro-warehousing facilities.”

A message left Wednesday for Tesla was not immediately returned.

LAZ intends to attract Tesla drivers to its charging stations through Tesla’s in-app and in-car touch screens. Drivers would pay to charge at the LAZ sites, with the rates being “competitive and comparable” to other Tesla chargers in each area, according to LAZ.

“My initial reaction to the news from LAZ is that it is a smart move,” said Barry Kresch, president of the EV Club of Connecticut. “It gets them ahead of the curve of an expanding EV market and will benefit the venues where these parking facilities are located. Tesla is the market leader, so it makes sense to work with them.”

Connecticut has 437 public electric-vehicle charging stations, according to a database on the U.S. Department of Energy’s website. Among neighboring states, there are 2,458 in New York, 1,636 in Massachusetts and 204 in Rhode Island.

“Connecticut is a heavily transited state, and those folks need charging access, too,” Kresch said. “So we need to make progress.”

LAZ’s partnership with Tesla comes amid a push among many state officials to put more electric vehicles on the road.

The General Assembly’s Transportation Committee passed in March a bill that would allow electric-vehicle manufacturers such as Tesla to directly sell their automobiles to Connecticut customers without operating franchised dealerships.

State Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport and state Rep. Jonathan Steinberg, D-Westport, the duo who introduced Senate Bill 127, and other proponents argue that the legislation would respond to the state’s struggles to meet its electric-vehicle goals and expand consumer choice.

“We’ve set a really ambitious goal in this state to put 500,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030, but sadly we’re nowhere close to meeting that goal. We’ve got just over 13,000 electric vehicles on the road,” Haskell, the Transportation Committee’s Senate chairman, said in the March 24 meeting when the committee passed the bill.

Opponents of SB 127, such as the Connecticut Automotive Retailers Association, said that that they, too, support expanding the electric-vehicle market. But they have expressed concerns that the bill would hurt car dealerships and weaken consumer-protection regulations.

The full state House and the full state Senate have not yet voted on the bill. June 9 is the last day of this year’s General Assembly session.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; twitter: @paulschott