In a momentous occasion today, the highly anticipated Tesla facility officially opened its doors to the public with a grand ribbon-cutting ceremony. The event, attended by hundreds of enthusiastic supporters, marked a significant milestone for both Tesla and the local community.
Tesla previously forged a groundbreaking partnership with Nambé Pueblo to establish a state-of-the-art sales and service center for their renowned electric vehicles. Named Project Frontier, the Southwest Public Policy Institute successfully obtained EPA permits, pinpointing the location near the Santa Ana Star Casino. Responsible for the construction permits is Hart Construction, based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
This achievement highlights an underlying issue. It is worth noting that the only two Tesla facilities in New Mexico are situated on tribal land. This circumstance arises from the long-standing ban on direct-to-consumer vehicle sales imposed by the state. However, as sovereign nations, pueblos such as Santa Ana and Nambé are not subject to this restrictive state law.
Tesla’s ability to foster partnerships with these tribes not only fills the void created by burdensome regulations but also provides mutual benefits. It injects economic growth into the pueblos, empowers Tesla’s market presence, and directly enables consumers to access electric vehicle purchases more conveniently.
The news of this cutting-edge facility comes almost two years after Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted his commitment to expedite the opening of service centers. While negotiations with Santa Ana Pueblo have undeniably proven successful, the outdated regulations at the state level continue to hinder progress in the electric vehicle market.
It is important to note that Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s administration has implemented electric vehicle mandates, which have drawn both support and concern from various stakeholders. Ken Ortiz, president of the New Mexico Automotive Dealers Association, expressed the industry’s reservations about the state mandates. While acknowledging the importance of addressing environmental concerns, Ortiz emphasized the necessity of allowing consumers to choose vehicles that suit their individual needs.
Tesla shares this sentiment, as the company remains unable to directly sell their vehicles to New Mexicans in the state, despite being the largest all-electric vehicle manufacturer. With the opening of the Tesla facility in Santa Ana Pueblo, the community embraces a new era of sustainable transportation, while underscoring the urgent need for regulatory reforms that enable innovation and consumer choice.