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Tesla is cutting the ribbon on its first Arlington store today

(Updated, 12:05 p.m.) Tesla is opening its first Arlington sales and service center today.

A ribbon cutting ceremony is being held this morning at the nearly 64,000 square foot space at 2710 S. Glebe Road, just east of Shirlington. Several local officials are expected to be in attendance, including state Senator Barbara Favola and County Board member Takis Karantonis.

This is Tesla’s fourth Virginia sales center. Prior to the Arlington location, the closest was in Tysons.

ARLnow reported in early March that the electric car company was charging up to open a store on S. Glebe Road near I-395. It’s the former location of a Maserati dealership and, before that, seafood seller M. Slavin & Sons.

Tesla had to first get approval from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles to open this and two other stores in the Commonwealth.

Under state law, automobile manufacturers like Tesla are generally not able to sell their cars directly to customers. This law was originally passed, in part, to encourage competition. In fact, for a time, Tesla couldn’t sell cars at its Tysons mall showroom and employees were forbidden from even discussing purchases.

However, that changed last May when the state DMV commissioner approved the company’s request to open three sales centers in Virginia. The reasoning the commissioner gave is that there are no independent dealers in Arlington — or in Charlottesville and Norfolk, where the other stores are opening — that could operate a Tesla franchise “in a manner consistent with public interest,” according to the hearing decision provided to ARLnow.

The Arlington store will employ about 20 people initially with “plans to grow as needed to meet demand,” a company spokesperson said.

In addition to its sales and service location, there are more than 400 Tesla “supercharger” stations in Virginia, where drivers can get a quick recharge of their car’s batteries.

That number includes eight such stations in Arlington, according to a company map. Rosslyn, Clarendon, Ballston, Pentagon City, Crystal City, and the new Tesla store on S. Glebe Road all have at least one publicly available charging station.

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