The Oneida Indian Nation is eliminating obstacles to electric vehicle (EV) ownership in Upstate New York with its new partnership with Tesla to develop the automaker’s first showroom in the region. The Tesla showroom will be located on Nation lands just off Exit 34 on the New York State Thruway and is expected to open by 2025 along with a new Maple Leaf Market and retail plaza. Made possible by the terms of the 2013 Settlement Agreement, this exclusive partnership with Tesla continues the Nation’s commitment to environmental stewardship, the diversification of its enterprises and economic development to support the success of the region and the Oneida people.
Oneida Indian Nation Homelands (June 6, 2023) – The Oneida Indian Nation today announced a new initiative that will eliminate obstacles to electric vehicle (EV) ownership in Upstate New York. The Oneida Indian Nation and Tesla have entered into a partnership to develop the automaker’s first Sales, Service, and Delivery (SSD) center in the region. Located on Oneida Indian Nation homelands just off Exit 34 on the New York State Thruway, the new showroom is expected to open by 2025 and will offer area residents the same easy access to direct-to-consumer EV purchases enjoyed in Downstate New York.
This unique partnership between the Oneida Indian Nation and Tesla is made possible by the 2013 Settlement Agreement between the Oneida Indian Nation, New York State and Oneida and Madison Counties. Under this historic, one-of-a-kind Agreement, the Nation has paid more than $600 million to the State and the local counties in consideration for – among other things – the State’s recognition of Oneida’s sovereign right to pursue responsible land use and economic development initiatives without interference.
This Tesla partnership continues the Nation’s commitment to environmental stewardship. It is the latest in a long history of sustainable practices employed across Oneida’s enterprises. The Oneida Indian Nation, the State of New York, communities from across the state and countless environmental and civic organizations have also emphasized the importance of increasing EV adoption and supporting direct-to-consumer EV sales in reducing emissions and dependence on fossil fuels. Yet with limited purchasing options, adoption of EVs has significantly lagged in Upstate New York. With the ability to purchase and receive service for EVs on Oneida homelands in the heart of Upstate, the Nation’s new initiative will dramatically expand access for more than 6 million Upstate New Yorkers – one-third of the state’s population. By increasing interest in and access to EV direct-to-consumer sales, service and charging throughout the region, the Oneida Indian Nation will maintain its dedication to conservation within its ancestral homelands and doing all things for the benefit of the Seventh Generation.
The sale of Tesla vehicles on Oneida Indian Nation land will generate funds that will be dedicated exclusively to supporting Oneida government programs and services for Nation Members, with no loss of tax revenues whatsoever to local communities. Pursuant to a 2020 Memorandum of Understanding between Oneida and the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance, Tesla will remit the State’s portion of its sales tax collections on all EVs sold to the Oneida Indian Nation, which will dedicate these funds exclusively to supporting Oneida government programs and services such as public safety, healthcare, education and environmental conservation. Tesla will continue to remit all county sales tax collections to the county where the buyer lives.
Additionally, the Nation and Tesla are already working closely together to expand Upstate New York’s EV charging infrastructure to support the region’s EV drivers as demand for these vehicles grows. Oneida and Tesla have agreed to add 16 additional Tesla Superchargers at two locations in the Oneida homelands in Verona. Tesla is also partnering with Oneida to install more than 120 Level 2 chargers across the Oneida homelands, including 12 each at the community center, administrative offices, and the elder center, as well as chargers dedicated to tribal residences. All of this is in addition to the 12 Tesla Superchargers already located at Turning Stone Resort Casino. These Superchargers were equipped with Tesla’s recently introduced Magic Dock, making them among the first in the United States to support Tesla vehicles and EVs from other manufacturers.
This development will also continue the diversification of the Nation’s enterprises and its role as an engine for economic development for the Oneida people and all of Upstate New York. In addition to a 25,000-square-foot SSD center constructed on Nation lands at the current site of the SavOn convenience store in Canastota, the Nation also plans to construct a new Maple Leaf Market across the street, as well as the brand-new retail plaza noted above at the same site. These new enterprises will create hundreds of construction jobs and a variety of new permanent full-time and part-time positions.
“We are proud to expand access to EVs in Upstate New York,” said Oneida Indian Nation Representative and Turning Stone Enterprises CEO Ray Halbritter. “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. As we look towards the future, we know that these guiding principles will serve as an anchor for the economic development required to sustain our region and the Oneida people for many generations to come.”
“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,” said Rohan Patel, Vice President, Public Policy and Business Development for Tesla. “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. We are also excited to work with the Nation to foster top local talent through Tesla’s workforce development programs which will specifically provide Members of the Oneida Indian Nation with opportunities to learn diverse skills which can lead to full-time careers at Tesla.”
“We are happy to see the Oneida Indian Nation continue to invest in our communities, and look to the future to bring good things to the region,” said John M. Becker, Chairman of the Madison County Board of Supervisors. “The area just off Exit 34 is an ideal location for the new showroom, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome Tesla and all current and future Tesla drivers to Madison County thanks to this partnership. Thank you also to the Oneida Indian Nation for the partnership and relationship that we have strengthened over the years. This new endeavor will not only bring new consumers to our communities, but also jobs. I would also like to thank the Oneida Indian Nation, on behalf of all New York State Counties, for protecting county sales tax as part of this agreement.”
“By eliminating barriers to electric vehicle purchases, the partnership between the Oneida Indian Nation and Tesla will have a major positive impact on Upstate New Yorkers who today must drive hundreds of miles to purchase these cutting-edge vehicles,” said New York State Assemblymember Marianne Buttenschon. “Just as importantly, this initiative continues the Nation’s longstanding commitment to fueling economic development in Upstate New York in a way that protects our environment for future generations.”
“The partnership between the Oneida Indian Nation and Tesla is important as our region looks to be a leading adopter of clean technologies,” said Robert Simpson, CenterState CEO President and CEO. “Creating easier access to purchase these vehicles will reduce a barrier to EV ownership and create jobs and development in the Mohawk Valley. We congratulate the Nation for their continued commitment to supporting economic development throughout the region.”
“I have been fighting for years to pass legislation that would help address emissions in the transportation sector, which continues to be one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gasses and criteria pollution in New York. The state has committed to having 850,000 registered electric vehicles on the road by 2025, and to hit that goal we are going to need bold action combined with creative thinking. That is what this partnership represents,” said Julie Tighe, President of the New York League of Conservation Voters. “Further, it shows that industry and government can work together to address the climate crisis. The Oneida Indian Nation has long been a leader on environmental conservation, and this is a fitting next step in their legacy of environmental stewardship and leadership.”
“Increased EV adoption for consumers is critical to reducing emissions and weaning New York’s dependence on fossil fuels – but limited purchasing options in Buffalo and the greater Western New York region is holding us back,” said Alexandra McPherson, Principal at Niagara Share Buffalo. “By making EV ownership more accessible to the 3 million New Yorkers who call Western New York home, this partnership between Tesla and the Oneida Indian Nation marks an incredible step forward in bolstering our State’s low carbon economy and securing a cleaner, more sustainable future for all New Yorkers.”
“The partnership between Tesla and the Oneida Indian Nation removes barriers and increase access to electric vehicle – especially in upstate New York, said Anne Reynolds of the Alliance for Clean Energy of New York. “Expecting upstate residents, like me, to drive over 100 miles to buy a Tesla is unfair and unrealistic. I applaud this partnership and urge stakeholders to continue to think creatively to expand access to electric vehicles throughout New York State.
With the nearest Tesla showroom hours away in Westchester, the new showroom will allow easy direct sale and delivery of EVs to Upstate New York residents. While the new SSD center is under construction, the Nation and Tesla will offer EV delivery directly to consumers at Turning Stone Resort Casino beginning the week of June 12. EVs will be available for pickup on the top floor of Turning Stone’s parking garage. Tesla will maintain offices onsite at Turning Stone for delivery processing and registration.
As Tesla expands its footprint with the SSD center opening, the automaker’s workforce development programs will focus on fostering top local talent, with a goal to specifically provide interested Oneida Indian Nation Members with multiple on-ramps to start full-time careers with Tesla. Examples of this include tailored hiring events for Nation Members with resume workshops ahead of any larger hiring pushes and priority spots in technician training programs.
About the Oneida Indian Nation
The Oneida Indian Nation is a federally recognized Indian nation in Central New York. A founding member of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy (also known as the Six Nations or Iroquois Confederacy), the Oneida Indian Nation sided with the Americans in the Revolutionary War and was thanked by Congress and President George Washington for its loyalty and assistance. Today, the Oneida Indian Nation consists of about 1,000 enrolled Members, most of them living in Central New York. The Nation’s enterprises, which employ more than 4,500 people, include Turning Stone Resort Casino, YBR Casino & Sports Book, Point Place Casino, The Lake House at Sylvan Beach, The Cove at Sylvan Beach, Maple Leaf Markets, SāvOn Convenience stores, RV Park, and marinas. These enterprises also include Oneida Innovations Group, an 8(a) certified, full-spectrum information technology services provider that serves the U.S. Department of Defense and a variety of commercial industries such as gaming, hospitality, healthcare and higher education. Proceeds from these enterprises are used to rebuild the Nation’s economic base and provide essential services, including housing, health care, and education incentives and programs, to its Members.
Joel Barkin, VP of Communications
Oneida Indian Nation