Tesla entering India?! – 5 Things You Should Know

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Breathing clean air and being on time in Indian cities, are luxuries that sometimes, even the rich can’t afford. While our state and central governments are trying their best to upgrade our public transport to mitigate the latter, our pollution levels are really quite awful. Therefore, we need to look towards more eco-friendly transportation, to save our lungs, living experiences, and planet collectively.

The advent of Tesla’s electric cars, therefore, is a boon for India’s automobile market, pegged as the third largest worldwide. Last year, it was announced that Elon Musk’s Tesla was entering India – possibly a boon for our overworked environment. Here’s everything that’s happened since the announcement was made.

1. Like all other things, Isme PM Modi Ka Haath Zaroor Hain

Elon Musk (R); Narendra Modi (L)

We all laughed at the barrage of memes that followed our PM’s never ending foreign trips – however, there was a lot of method to his travelling madness. The honourable PM visited Tesla’s plant in America in 2015 and discussed methods to spread renewable energy supplies across rural/remote regions. Cost effectiveness was a hot topic during the discussion – something that Musk said could be achieved through widespread production. By October of 2015, Musk described India as a ‘promising’ manufacturing base for the Lithium Ion batteries, and storage units used in his cars.

“Given the high local demand, a Gigafactory (extremely large lithium-ion cell manufacturing unit) in India would probably make sense in the long term,”

2. Early Birds

Check those curves out! Tesla’s model 3

Tesla rolled out the booking for its Model 3 sedan last year, in April. The swanky car caught the attention of some of India’s biggest names in technology and finance – namely, Vijay Shekhar Sharma of PayTM, Mahesh Murthy (a venture capitalist), and Vishal Gondal of GOQii. The price tag was a cool $35,000 – which is, give or take around 25 lakhs, while the cars were expected to be sold in the country by mid-2017. Phew!

3. Policy Problems? 

Finance Minister Arun Jaitley (in cream and black) presenting this year’s budget

The National Electric Mobility Mission Plan 2020 hopes to bring 6-7 million electric vehicles to India’s roads by 2020. This is awesome news for Tesla – but unfortunately, the policy found no place in this year’s Union Budget; neither did it feature in the Scheme for Faster Adoption and Manufacturing (of Hybrid &) Electric Vehicles (FAME). There also exists a general uncertainty over these alternative technologies, given the general failure of electric cars (Mahindra’s e20 and eVitro being primary examples) in India. Therefore, this doesn’t bode well for Tesla’s entry financially – for governmental support seems curiously absent.

4. Turning Tables

In a recent tweet by an Indian who couldn’t wait for Tesla’s entry, Musk replied stating that governmental policy was preventing the company from entering the subcontinent.

5. Wait, So They’re Not Coming This Year?

Yes, seems like it! The inability to source local spare parts for the hi-tech cars, probably combined with less government initiative/incentive, to put a hold on the company’s Indian entry. Although, Musk only mentioned that it wouldn’t be possible to manufacture in India – which means technically can assemble the cars here instead. As mentioned earlier, India hasn’t warmed up to the electric/hybrid models – so we just have to hope that Musk is waiting for an opportune time to penetrate the market. So, kiss goodbye to your dreams of salivating over a Tesla in a showroom near your house – for now at least!

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