Tuesday, September 26, 2023

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Nambé Pueblo, Tesla join forces


Last week, the Pueblo of Nambé announced a historic new venture with electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc., that has transformed the former Nambé Falls Casino, about 13 miles north of Santa Fe (off U.S. 285), into a Tesla sales, service and delivery center.

The partnership between the clean energy automaker and the sovereign tribal nation allows Tesla to expand its preferred direct sales model by circumventing a New Mexico law that prohibits vehicle manufacturers from selling directly to consumers.

And by setting up a storefront on tribal land, Tesla has once again found a way to buck the traditional American third-party dealership sales model.

By removing the middleman from the sales equation, Tesla can also keep its electric car prices lower for consumers and boost its profit margin while creating opportunities for local workforce.

“This location will not only create permanent jobs but it is also part of a long term relationship with Tesla as the company is working with the Pueblo of Nambe to provide education and training op for tribal members as well as economic development,” Nambé Pueblo Governor Phillip Perez told KRQE News 13 at the unveiling of the new facility on Sept 9.

New Mexico Governor Lujan Grisham, whose administration’s ongoing efforts to decarbonize its transportation infrastructure and expand the accessibility of electric vehicles, applauded the partnership.

“Automakers the world over acknowledge that low-emission and zero-emission vehicles are the future – New Mexico is on board, and has been on board, and the rest of the country is going to get on board, too,” Lujan Grisham said in a press release. “I welcome any and all good ideas from Tesla and the Pueblo of Nambé about how we can do even more.”

Under Lujan Grisham’s leadership, New Mexico has joined with seven other western states in the bipartisan Regional Electric Vehicle West initiative to facilitate the adoption of electric vehicles, coordinate on the locations of charging stations and create voluntary minimum standards.

New Mexico is also on track to adopt stricter greenhouse gas emission rules for new vehicles that align with President Joe Biden’s administration’s effort to curb transportation sector pollution and move the United States toward zero-emission vehicles to combat climate change.

Through its innovative collaboration with Tesla, the small Nambe Pueblo community of about 1,800 members, led by Perez and the Tribal Council, has leveraged its resources and set a new bar for ingenuity that could inspire other tribes to leap into the greater clean and green arena.

‘Waiting in the wings’

At the ribbon-cutting event, Owners Club of New Mexico founder Brian Dear expressed thanks and gratitude on behalf of “countless” New Mexicans planning to be Tesla owners who have been “waiting in the wings” for in-state sales, service and delivery.

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., also welcomed the Tesla/Nambe Pueblo announcement as the first agreement of its kind and praised its efforts to make electric vehicles more affordable and accessible to all Americans.

“I hope that this is just the start of partnerships like this to bring economic opportunities to tribal communities,” Heinrich said in a press release. “I can’t wait to see how Tesla and the Pueblo will build on this partnership in the months and years ahead to train workers and employees for good-paying, long-term careers right here in Nambé.”

Heinrich added the climate crisis “won’t go away on its own” and the window of opportunity to contain its worst impacts is quickly closing.

“Electrifying our transportation sector will decarbonize our single greatest source of carbon pollution,” he said.

About The Author

Rima Krisst

Reporter and photojournalist Rima Krisst reported for the Navajo Times from July 2018 to October 2022. She covered Arts and Culture and Government Affairs beats.Before joining the editorial team at the Times, Krisst worked in various capacities in the areas of communications, public relations, marketing and Indian Affairs policy on behalf of the Tribes, Nations and Pueblos of New Mexico. Among her posts, she served as Director of PR and Communications for the New Mexico Indian Affairs Department under Governor Bill Richardson, Healthcare Outreach and Education Manager for the Eight Northern Pueblos, Tribal Tourism Liaison for the City of Santa Fe, and Marketing Projects Coordinator for Santa Fe Indian Market. As a writer and photographer, she has also worked independently as a contractor on many special projects, and her work has been published in magazines. Krisst earned her B.S. in Business Administration/Finance from the University of Connecticut.


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