- By Brian Edwards
- Economic Development
The Oneida Indian Nation said this morning it will partner with Tesla to open the electric-vehicle maker’s first sales, service and delivery facility in the region, as well as expanded charging locations just off the New York State Thruway.
The 25,000-square showroom, which is expected to open by 2025, will be located on tribal lands alongside a new Maple Leaf Market and retail plaza. The new enterprises are expected to create hundreds of construction jobs and a variety of new permanent full-time and part-time positions.
The partnership offers a legal workaround to existing state laws, which limit how electric vehicles can be sold in New York. It hinges on a 2013 settlement agreement between the Oneida tribe, the state of New York and two upstate counties that ensures the tribe’s sovereign right to pursue responsible land use and economic development initiatives without interference.
Tesla used similar strategies to build sales, service and delivery facilities — or SSDs as they are called — on tribal lands in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In a news release, the Oneida Nation hailed the partnership as a continuation of its “commitment to environmental stewardship” that will help increase EV adoption while reducing emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The new showroom’s location on Oneida homelands will expand access to EV sales, service and charging stations to more than six million Upstate New Yorkers and millions of travelers in the region.
In a news release, the tribe hailed the partnership as a continuation of its “commitment to environmental stewardship” that will help increase EV adoption while reducing emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. The new showroom’s location on Oneida homelands will expand access to EV sales, service and charging stations to more than 6 million Upstate New Yorkers and millions of travelers in the region. The closest Tesla showroom is about four hours away in Westchester.
“We are proud to expand access to EVs in Upstate New York,” Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Oneida Nation Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter said in a statement. “This initiative and partnership with Tesla align with the Nation’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the constant diversification of our enterprises and warm hospitality for all who enter our ancestral homelands.”
Oneida Nation and Tesla are already working to expand the region’s EV charging infrastructure, according to the tribe. The partners will add 16 additional Tesla superchargers as well as more than 120 level-2 chargers across the Oneida homelands, including the tribe’s community center, administrative offices, elder center, and some tribal residences.
“Tesla's partnership with the Oneida Indian Nation is an opportunity to make electric vehicles and charging infrastructure more accessible to Nation Members and the residents of Upstate New York,” Rohan Patel, vice president of public policy and business development for Tesla said in a statement. “This partnership aligns with New York State's climate action council's scoping plan and will help the state meet its ambitious Electric Vehicle adoption goals.”
The partnership is also expected to yield jobs and workforce training for members of the Oneida Nation. Tesla’s workforce development program has set specific goals to provide tribal citizens with “multiple on-ramps” to start full-time careers with Tesla, according to Patel.
The sale of Tesla vehicles on Oneida land will also generate funds dedicated to supporting the tribe’s members, pursuant to a 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between Oneida and the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance. Under the MOU, Tesla will remit state sales tax on all EV sold to the Oneida Nation, which will use the funds to support the tribe’s government programs and services including public safety, healthcare, education and environmental conservation.
Tesla will continue to remit all county sales tax collections to the county where the buyer lives.
While the new sales, service and delivery center is under construction, Tesla buyers in the region won’t have to wait to purchase a new vehicle. Tesla will offer EV delivery directly to consumers at the tribe’s Turning Stone Resort Casino beginning the week of June 12 and plans to maintain offices onsite at Turning Stone for delivery processing and registration.