Tesla is finally coming to New Hampshire after years of false starts and while the news is exciting for many people, it would have been more exciting a couple of years ago.

A 50,000-square-foot Tesla dealership and service center is under construction in Londonderry on a former gravel pit at 36 Industrial Drive near the Manchester airport and should open by the end of the year. This comes two years after a similar facility was supposed to come to Bedford until plans fell through, and six months after Portsmouth approved plans for a small Tesla sales gallery, but not service center, in that city. The Portsmouth site is not yet open.

Four Tesla service stations exist around Boston and one is in Burlington, Vermont, but fans in New Hampshire have long wanted a nearby location to get their cars worked on.

The Londonderry facility is expected to service only Tesla models, not other makes of electric vehicles, and no gasoline-fueled cars and trucks, according to Planning Board minutes.

Tesla remains the country’s preeminent maker of electric cars, selling more battery-electric vehicles in the U.S. than all other car companies combined, but its lead has been shaken recently as other firms have belatedly rolled out EVs. In the most recent quarter, Tesla reported a decline in sales, extremely unusual for the fast-growing company.

Perhaps the biggest long-term threat is from China, whose government has pushed car companies to embrace electric vehicles. Most notable is BYD, which has recently passed Tesla as the world’s biggest seller of EVs although it doesn’t yet sell in the U.S., partly due to political obstacles in the trade wars between China and the U.S.

Beyond sales, Tesla’s reputation has suffered due to deliberate provocation from its CEO, Elon Musk and his purchase of the social-media site X, formerly Twitter, a year ago. The faltering launch of the Cybertruck with its polarizing design, and repeated delays in plans to produce a less-expensive sedan have also dented Tesla’s image.

New Hampshire is a laggard in New England when it comes to supporting electric cars. The state government provides no support for them, unlike Vermont and Massachusetts, and the state has fewer public charging sites than any of our neighbors. Still, EVs are growing in popularity here – 8,886 battery vehicles were registered in New Hampshire as of 2023, an increase of 50% over the previous year, according to data from the state DMV. However, they still represent fewer than 1% of all cars registered in the state.

In Londonderry, the Union-Leader noted that because the service center is only for Tesla’s electric vehicles, it won’t require waste gas and oil removal.

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