Tesla Finds Legal Loophole to Build Service Center in New Mexico

New Mexico legally banned Tesla from building a service center for its vehicles within the state. This forced Tesla owners in New Mexico to travel to other states to have their vehicles serviced. Now Tesla has found a clever way around the state’s laws: Build a service center within the Nambé Pueblo Native American tribe’s land.

Nambé Pueblo territory is legally not subject to the state’s laws because it is regarded as a tribal nation. At the grand opening of the new service center, tribal leaders were quick to welcome the new establishment along with US Senators Martin Heinrich and Ben Ray Luján.

“This truly represents a historic moment,” said Nambé Pueblo Governor Phillip Perez.

The senators emphasized the importance of electric vehicles like Tesla’s in combatting the effects of climate change. Luján said that he is especially looking forward to the release of the Cybertruck despite repeated delays in production of the electric pickup truck.

Although Tesla’s vehicles were still criticized for running on electricity generate by coal-fired plants, the company has fought this image by investing heavily in solar power, including adding it to some of its Supercharger stations and inking deals with developers of luxury homes to add solar roofs and at-home charging stations to homes in new developments.

Tesla has also supported lawmakers’ efforts to combat carbon emissions created by gasoline-powered vehicles, including joining an industry lobby group of automakers interested in manufacturing EVs and fighting delays in emissions regulations in court.

Tesla has previously had to deal with state-level laws that make it difficult to establish a presence in the state without working with dealerships. When the Gigafactory in Texas begins manufacturing vehicles, for instance, it will have to ship the vehicles out of the state and then ship them back on semi-trucks without any visible Tesla branding before they can be delivered to customers unless Texas changes its laws governing car sales.

Tesla has frequently criticized the normal model of going to a dealership to buy a car, saying that it greatly inflates the cost of vehicles and creates a complicated process that might discourage some buyers who prefer not to deal with car salesmen who earn commissions based on the profit of each sale to the dealer. It makes the case that direct sales would not cause “unfair competition” with car dealerships or disincentivize consumers from buying a new or used vehicle from one, as the owners of those dealerships and competing vehicle manufacturers often claim.

“How do you sell the future if your business depends on the present?” a Tesla official told Chicago Tribune at one point, referring to the current model of selling vehicles through dealerships.

The new service center in the Nambé Pueblo territory is a 7,000 square-foot facility that used to be a casino near the Nambé Falls Travel Center. Although there is no word yet on how many jobs this will provide to the Nambé Pueblo people, Tesla will also support educational opportunities for Nambé Pueblo students, including providing tutors and scholarships.