Nitin Gadkari, Hon' Union Minister of Road Transport, Highways & Shipping, visited the Tesla headquarters near San Francisco in USA. The purpose of the visit was to promote joint ventures between the global leaders in electric car manufacturing and the Indian automobile companies with a view to introducing pollution free road transport in India, especially commercial and public motor vehicles. It was also learnt that over 400,000 advance bookings have been done for Tesla’s model X, some from India as well.
Shri 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. He proposed to the Tesla senior executives to make India their Asia manufacturing hub and offered land near major Indian ports to facilitate export of their vehicles to South and South East Asian countries. Tesla senior executive admitted that their manufacturing hub has to be outside the US for markets in rest of the world and appreciated the Indian offer of cooperation which they said will certainly be considered at the appropriate time in future. They said India will definitely be a market for their next generation low cost sustainable Model 3.
Replying to specific queries from the Transport and Highways Minister regarding manufacturing of electric trucks, buses and two wheelers, Tesla team said they have future plans for trucks and pick up vans but not buses and two wheelers. They evinced keen interest in knowing whether there was any subsidy on electric vehicles in India. Shri Gadkari asked Tesla executives to outline their proposals for entry into Indian market. Gadkari also apprised Tesla executives of the progress Indian automobile manufacturers have made in the field of electric vehicles and exuded confidence that very soon Indian market will become very competitive in this sector. Just so you know, around 10 months PM Narendra Modi had visited the Tesla factory and urged Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla, to sell thier electric cars in India too.
The Transport & Highways and Shipping Minister along with accompanying senior officials took a round of the sprawling Tesla manufacturing units and saw the cutting edge robotic auto assembly plant. Shri Gadkari inquired about the battery packs that can store energy from the power grid and from solar panels.He was told that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Tesla, too was keen to know how batteries and solar panels could be the future of electricity generation for India, particularly in rural areas. Shri Gadkari was told that Tesla was inviting suggestions for locations in India for demonstrations.