Less than a year after Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla’s state-of-the-art factory in Fremont, California, his government has invited American electric carmaker to set up a manufacturing hub for South and South East Asia in India.
Transport minister Nitin Gadkari who is visiting US has offered American automotive company Tesla various sops including land parcel to form joint ventures with Indian automobile companies to introduce pollution free road transportation in India.
In a press statement, the transport ministry said that Gadkari along with transport ministry officials visited Tesla factory near San Francisco and asked them to look at collaborations with Indian automobile firms to manufacture electric and solar-energy based automotives. The idea is to have special eco-friendly automobile fleed for commercial and public transportation in India. Gadkari also asked Tesla to outline their proposals for entry into Indian market.
Offering land on any of the major ports in India, Gadkari told Tesla’s senior executives to make India their Asia manufacturing hub and extended support to facilitate exports of their vehicles to South and South East Asian countries. Gadkari said the Indian government was committed to encouraging alternate pollution free transport in the country by providing incentives to bio-fuel, CNG, ethanol and electric vehicles.
The minister offered to promote joint ventures between the global leader in electric car technology and Indian automobile companies to introduce pollution-free road transport in India.
The official statement quoted a senior Tesla executive as saying, the Indian government’s offer would be considered at an appropriate time.
Replying to a query from the highways minister regarding manufacturing of electric trucks, buses and two-wheelers, Tesla said they plan to manufacture trucks and pick-up vans but not buses and two-wheelers. Tesla team evinced interest in knowing about subsidy on electric vehicles in India.
As part of his Silicon Valley visit last year, Modi had toured Tesla factory in California. Tesla CEO Elon Musk showed Modi the cutting-edge robotic auto assembly plant.
The PM was also shown the inside of a lithium-ion battery pack, which powers Tesla’s cars.
Musk and Modi had said they saw batteries and solar panels as the future of electricity generation in India. Musk, also CEO of SpaceX, had said, just like India skipped landlines and went straight to cell phones, it could skip traditional grid power and adopt distributed solar and battery packs.
Even though Tesla cars have become quite popular among some of the wealthiest Indians, there is still no infrastructure of electric cars in India. According to analysts, there was a huge potential for Tesla’s batteries combined with solar panels in India. Tesla’s grid batteries have also found overwhelming demand across the world.