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Tesla touring NYS, touting expansion in the 'epicenter of growth'

National Public Radio

The electric car manufacturer Tesla sees New York State as the epicenter of growth for the eastern part of the United States. They are driving some of their vehicles across the region this week to promote new state legislation that would allow them to expand.

Current state law prohibits Tesla from operating more than five licensed locations throughout the state. That legislation was imposed in 2014.

Earlier in the week, the automaker made stops in Albany, Rochester, and Syracuse. Tesla Policy Manager Will Nicholas said the company has been able to create a demand for their products and want to meet it.

"Now that we're launching Model 3, delivering in substantial numbers, and also combining our other energy products, includingsolar roofs and energy stores with power-long powerpacks into our retail network, we feel it's necessary to broaden our physically footprint so we can educate more New Yorkers about the sustainable mission that we're on," he said.

Nicholas said Tesla sees significant equity in Western New York and Buffalo specifically. He said 15 new locations would be planned to open across the state.

"That would translate into more electric vehicles sold, meaning reduced emissions across the state, aligning  with the state's goals for EV adoption and carbon reduction," Nicholas said, "and I think a really compelling reason - and Buffalo knows this well - is that this will increase the Tesla employment picture that we have." 

Nicholas says Tesla currently employs close to 700 people across the state. The hope is to greatly increase that number in the near future.

Buffalo state Democrats Sen. Tim Kennedy and Assemblymembers Crystal Peoples-Stokes and Sean Ryan are co-sponsoring measures to change the law that are favorable to Tesla. Nicholas calls this a consumer rights issue.

"New Yorkers across the state should have the choice to decide which car they buy and from whom," Nicholas said, "and I think that they also see it as a great piece of policy that will allow for New York-made products made in Buffalo and gigafactories out at Riverbend to be disbursed to New Yorkers and across the state."

Tesla will be showing off a few of their cars at the Pierce Arrow Museum in Buffalo Thursday from 4 p.m.-8 p.m.

Nick Lippa leads our Arts & Culture Coverage, and is also the lead reporter for the station's Mental Health Initiative, profiling the struggles and triumphs of those who battle mental health issues and the related stigma that can come from it.
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