Last September, Tesla partnered with Nambé Pueblo to construct and open a sales and service facility for the electric car manufacturer.
Soon, Santa Ana Pueblo will be the latest New Mexico location for Tesla sales and service. Codenamed Project Frontier, the Southwest Public Policy Institute pulled the EPA permits, identifying the location of the new facility near Santa Ana Star Casino. Hart Construction of Albuquerque, New Mexico holds the construction permits.
A call was placed with Santa Ana Pueblo, and a representative confirmed the project. The official announcement will come with pomp and circumstance at an in-person event on Friday, October 7, 2022, at 9:00 am.
Congratulations to Santa Ana Pueblo for striking the deal with Tesla! We wish you much success.
But this development underscores a problem. You might notice that the only two Tesla facilities in New Mexico are located on tribal land. That’s because New Mexico has long maintained a ban on direct-to-consumer vehicle sales.
As sovereign nations, pueblos are not subject to this onerously restrictive state law. The ability of Tesla to leverage tribal partnerships is of definite benefit to Santa Ana Pueblo and Nambé: they are filling a gap created by overly burdensome state governments. This brings dollars into the pueblos, this benefits Tesla, and this benefits consumers directly by facilitating access to electric vehicle purchases.
Tesla previously attempted an entrance into the state in 2019 with the aid of favorable legislators, but they were blocked when car dealer associations launched comprehensive campaigns against the effort.
The news of the facility comes over a year after Elon Musk announced on Twitter that Tesla would expedite service center openings. While the negotiations with Santa Ana Pueblo were obviously fruitful, the antiquated regulations in place at the state level are prohibitive.
All of this comes after Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration implemented electric vehicle mandates. Ken Ortiz, president of the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association said the industry was concerned about the state mandates.
“New Mexicans should have a choice in what vehicles they purchase based on their specific needs. We agree that the ozone issue is real, but it should not be addressed through mandates,” Ortiz said.
This concern is echoed by Tesla, given that the largest all-electric vehicle manufacturer is prohibited from even selling their vehicles to New Mexicans in New Mexico.