We’ve all been eagerly waiting for Elon Musk to bring its zero-emissions all-electric Tesla vehicles to India. And it might make a debut in the country sometime in the later half of this year, as suggested by Musk himself. But, it would be the only presence that the electric automaker will currently aim for in the country, as it continues to give the government’s ‘Make In India’ proposal a cold shoulder.
The Indian government has not only proposed but also made visits to the automaker’s production facilities in the United States. First, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla’s Fremont facility bakc in September 2015. With the company’s officials, he discussed the implications of revolutionary battery technology, as well as renewable energy and how this can drive the country towards a sustainable future.
This was followed by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari’s Tesla visit last year. There he had proposed a joint venture between Tesla and Indian automakers to manufacture emmissions-free vehicles in India. This was, however, heavily focused on building the commercial and public transportation system — something SoftBannk’s SB Drive is aiming to do, that too autonomously. Further, he has also tried to invite Tesla to set up its ‘Gigafactory’ in the country, but in vain.
Gadkari states that the Modi government has been trying to court Tesla to support the ‘Make in India’ campaign by offering land near major ports to facilitate exports, along with other incentives. But, the automaker has been deaf to its insistent proposals. With regards to the same, Gadkari said,
I have told them [Tesla] we will give you land at the ports, but we haven’t got any indication yet.
There is currently no scope for electric vehicles in our pollution-plagued country, but it still aims to drive 6 million electric and hybrid vehicles on the roads by 2020. A rosy dream indeed, but Tesla is not buying it as of now but maybe sometime in the near future. Tesla still plans to establish about three more Gigafactories across the world. Expressing his views on the same, Abdul Majeed, partner and national auto practice leader, PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) tells LiveMint:
Just putting up a plant for exports doesn’t make sense. One needs to have a large domestic market as well. From a business standpoint, it makes sense for Tesla to address the product challenges, build up market share in the US and Europe. India is still some time away.
To shed light on the current situation, there is not much to say with respect to Tesla’s plans for India. But, the automaker is currently gearing up to start the production of its most affordable electric vehicle — Model 3. It has already made necessary modifications to its production facility in Fremont, California and raised $1.2 billion for the same. This $35, ooo electric vehicle has amassed about 400k pre-orders, which are expected to start shipping later this year.
The company’s Model 3 production plans are fairly neat and composed. It plans to produce a steady 5,000 vehicles per week this year before raising more funds in 2018. These funds, which it might add to its coffers, will enable Tesla to increase production to 10,000 Model 3 vehicles in the next year. The Model 3 is further expected to be made available with a solar roof variant. But, these vehicles are not going to include a 100kWh battery pack due to a smaller wheelbase.