Electric-vehicle maker Tesla opens
first store and service center in R.I.

WARWICK – Following a ribbon-cutting on July 20, electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc. opened its first store and service center in Rhode Island.

Mayor Joseph J. Solomon, House Majority Leader K. Joseph Shekarchi, D-Warwick, and Tesla officials celebrated the opening at the Warwick Commons at 399 Bald Hill Road, according to a news release from the mayor’s office.

Founded in California in 2003 by a group of engineers, the company builds all-electric vehicles, as well as Powerpack and Powerwall energy-storage batteries, solar roof tiles and solar panels. Elon Musk is the company’s CEO and product architect.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a tax credit between $2,500 and $7,500, based on traction battery capacity and gross vehicle weight rating, is available for the purchase of a new qualified plug-in electric vehicle. The vehicle must draw propulsion using a traction battery that has at least 5 kilowatt-hours of capacity, uses an external source of energy to recharge the battery, has a gross vehicle weight rating of up to 14,000 pounds, and meets specified emission standards.

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The federal tax credit is phased out for each manufacturer when that company sells 200,000 units in America, according to the nonprofit Green Energy Consumers Alliance Inc., with locations in Providence and Boston. After a carmaker sells 200,000 electric vehicles, the tax credit for that carmaker will stay fully in place for the rest of that quarter, then get cut in half for six months, then get cut in half again for three months, and then it expires, the nonprofit explains on its website, adding that Tesla has sold 200,000 EVs, so its phase-out has begun.

Rhode Island’s state rebate program for electric vehicles, called DRIVE, was suspended in 2016 due to lack of funding, according to Green Energy Consumers Alliance.

Tesla sells its cars directly to consumers from its stores. The number at the new location is 401-244-9070. It is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and by appointment only on Sunday.

Susan Shalhoub is a PBN contributing writer.