Musk Likely to Visit India

Article By : Sufia Tippu

Not-A-Flamethrower, Tesla and SpaceX man sets 'early next year' target

BENGALURU — Tesla Motors and SpaceX chief executive officer (CEO) Elon Musk may finally visit India sometime ‘early next year’.

Replying to a tweet from a user, Musk, who was on a three-day visit to China where he was discussing plans for Tesla (the company is planning to build its second plant in Shanghai, with a capacity to build 500,000 cars a year), said he is likely to visit India “probably early next year.”

According to an earlier report in The Times of India, in May last year, Musk had hinted that his company Tesla Motors was still not quite ready to start operations in India. However, he had added that the company “would love to be in India” and the timeline will be decided by none other than one of India’s own. “Deepak Ahuja, our CFO is from India and we will be there as soon as he believes we should,” he had tweeted.

In an earlier tweet, he had said that he would love to be in India but unfortunately there were some challenging government regulations.

Last year, Tesla’s plans in India were put on hold because he felt that government regulations were not exactly conducive to his plans. “Maybe I’m misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply doesn’t yet exist in India to support that,” he had tweeted.

The Indian government, was however quick to respond to Musk. The commerce and industry ministry through its ‘Make in India’ Twitter handle had stated that the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy does not mandate any such minimum sourcing of components by manufacturers.

In February 2017, Musk had said Tesla may launch in India during the summer, also in response to a Twitter user who wanted to know the timeline for Tesla’s India launch.

Tesla started taking bookings from Indian customers for its $35,000 (over Rs 23.5 lakh) Model 3 sedan in April 2016. This was around the same time when it unveiled the car to the world. The starting price for the Model 3 is $35,000.

The booking, which is worth $1,000, attracted Indian corporates like Paytm’s Vijay Shekhar Sharma, venture capitalist Mahesh Murthy, and Fitness tech company GOQii’s Vishal Gondal among others.

The Indian government has an ambitious plan to have more than 30 percent of vehicles run on electricity by 2030 in a bid to lower air pollution and curb reliance on traditional fossil fuels such as petrol and diesel.

— Sufia Tippu is a freelance tech journalist based in India contributing to EE Times India

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