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Tesla to open location in Warwick

A Tesla store in Walnut Creek, California (Tesla)

Electric carmaker Tesla has been given the green light to open a showroom in Warwick.

The Rhode Island Department of Revenue said the California-based company won approval from the state Automobile Dealers Licensing Board last month.

The Warwick store will be on Quaker Lane at the site of the former Tarbox Hyundai. It should open sometime this year.

"I think any time we can bring a new business into the state is good for the economy,” said Bud Craddock, administrator of the Rhode Island Department of Motor Vehicles.

The new location will bring with it a new way of doing business. Tesla sets up showrooms, not sales floors, so customers can see, touch, and drive the cars.

Then, the company will sell directly to the consumer through its website or other venue.

There are four Tesla stores in Massachusetts and one gallery in Connecticut.

The closest Tesla store to the new Warwick location is in Dedham, near Legacy Place on Route 1. It operates similarly to how the Warwick location will -- with a showroom and full-service bays. This means a boost in the local economy.

"The numbers I hear that they're thinking about hiring is going to be a significant bump up in bringing employment to people,” said Craddock.

The Rhode Island Automobile Dealers Association would not comment to NBC 10 News, but the Auto Dealer Licensing Board voted unanimously to bring Tesla to Warwick. The Board consists of five people, including who are new or used car dealers.

There are less than 100 Tesla vehicles registered to Rhode Island drivers. The automaker forecasts a spike in ownership numbers with the introduction of a new, more affordable model car -- one in the $30,000 range.

Tesla has the approval to sell new and used cars. The showroom will employ two people initially.

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