Let us start this feature by confessing that this is indeed a strange situation for us! As long as we can remember, government and automobile manufacturers come on one platform majorly during the policy making process, and that is when we cover the collaboration. But what happened a couple of days back in San Jose, California, created a new kind of history, and we were compelled to write a feature on the same.
Narendra Modi, honorable Prime Minister of India, recently visited the Tesla Motors plant in San Jose, California, U.S and became the first PM to do so. While he is creating many firsts these days, visiting Tesla Motors has its own significance and strategic importance, given the fact that, a) it manufactures electric vehicles and b) its technology can be used to empower farmers.
So here's what we feel about the Modi-Musk meet!
What's the fuss all about?
We all know how PM Modi is pushing the 'Make In India' agenda across the globe. And his latest visit to the U.S pertains to Digital India as well as Greener India. Tesla Motors could play a big role in the ambitious thinking of PM Modi of Greener India. It has been reported that Narendra Modi has asked Elon Musk, Founder and CEO of Tesla Motors to set up a plant in India, and sell their cars here too. But most importantly, he was interested in giving the battery technology of Tesla to the farmers, so that they can empower the rural India.
What is Tesla?
Tesla Motors, the brainchild of Elon Musk is an all-electric car manufacturer famous for making the first fully electric sports car (Tesla Roadster) and first fully electric luxury sedan (Model S). Started in 2003, Telsa employees 12000 direct and indirect employees and is the single largest electric-car only manufacturer in the world. Tesla wants to stick to the electric car business only and their vision is to make an affordable electric car for everyday use.
Significance of the visit
We all know the speed at which conventional sources of energy are depleting and only the electric vehicle is the solution, since much of the work has been done on them. Other alternative energy sources like solar and fuel cell are in their nascent stage. So it's obvious that manufacturers like Tesla are the future of the automotive industry.
And if they come to India, manufacturing cost can be reduced significantly, making them affordable for the masses. Also, India is majorly a farmer driven country and our PM was interested to combine the technology from Tesla with the efforts of farmers. He is asking Tesla to provide the battery tech to the farmers in India, that could change the way rural India earns livelihood, forever.
Effect on Indian Automobile Market
Tesla, coming to India (either by establishing a plant or by selling only) can bring a lot of changes in the market-
1. Tesla will bring a lot of technology to India, which can help local manufacturers to work on electric and hybrid cars.
2. Tesla's battery technology can empower farmers in rural India, creating a sustainable model for earning the livelihood.
3. Tesla will bring competition to India and more and more manufacturers will start manufacturing and selling their electric cars.
4. People will start buying electric cars, as there's only a single electric car manufacturer in India.
5. Tesla will also attract other technology driven companies to set up their base in India.
6. Manufacturing Tesla in India will bring down the cost of the car and Make In India will come closer to reality.
The very first thing you need for electric vehicles is the charging system. India, as a country, still faces problems when it comes to the availability of home electricity, let alone the special charging points for your car. The major problem occurs when you have to charge a car outside your home and Mahindra e2o (erstwhile Maini Reva) faced the same problem for a long time. Tesla is already installing a lot of power stations in the U.S and if they come to India, how will they manage a charging station here, will be a thing to see.
Firstly, we have manufacturers like Maini, who gave India their first own indigenous electric vehicle. If given a push, they could prove a real winner in the technology front.
Secondly, India, as a market, is not yet developed to accommodate electric vehicles in daily life.
Thirdly, Tesla might not choose India as a manufacturing base after all. They have sold more than lakh vehicles already based out of the U.S.
All we can say is, even if Tesla doesn't bring their vehicles to India, their technology can be a real boon for our country. PM Modi must have seen something special in this EV manufacturer and shown faith in them. Our wishes to Digital India campaign!