Is Tesla coming to India? “Next year for sure.”

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“Next year for sure.” That was Elon Musk short yet decisive reply when asked by Tesla fans over the company’s Indian market entry. And, Tesla may not only sell its electric cars in India but also build them there.

At least that is according to the Economic Times. Their report suggests the state of Karnataka has offered Tesla the city of Bengaluru. Officials would like to see the Californian carmaker build a production facility and an R&D centre there. Preliminary talks are said to have already taken place, a state official told the ET.

Bengaluru is quite the automotive hub. India’s electric vehicle startups such as Ola Mobility, Ather Energy, Mahindra Electric as well as units of Daimler and Bosch have set up shop there. Also, Toyota India is based in Bengaluru.

“We have offered them (Tesla) all support to set up a research and development centre as well as the manufacturing unit,” Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary of Karnataka’s commerce and industries department, told ET. He added caution though, saying “it is going to be a long-drawn process. We are at it, and we will keep the sustained dialogue going.”

That doesn’t sound like a “next year for sure”. Still, Tesla has accelerated market entries lately. China and building Giga Shanghai may have taken time to agree. But once in, Tesla moved with unprecedented speed to have local production up and running. And this so fast, that output and sales in China helped the company to write a new record quarter in Q2.

The same appears true for Giga Berlin. Even Chancellor Angela Merkel put her weight behind the speedy (on German count) bureaucracy Brandenburg has exhibited as we reported in our newsletter. The state ministry is confident to grant all approvals before the year’s end.

Both in China and Europe, Tesla had a foothold through sales before. This is not the case in India, where the company’s cars are not available.

The country is also considered a low price segment for automotive. While Tesla suggested a 25,000 dollar car, facilitated with the new cells as laid out on battery day, even such a Model 3 would still be quite stretch for most buyers in India. Although MG Motor has had some success with the ZS EV that starts at the equivalent of 27,000 dollars. Plus, there is little charging infrastructure and schemes like FAME II have been slow to progress.

Having followed Elon Musk and Tesla for some time though, our bets are on hearing more from Tesla India, next year for sure.


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