OverdriveJan 13, 2021 10:20:55 IST
(Editor's Note: As of 9.56 am on 13 January, Karnataka chief minister, BS Yediyurappa, pulled down the tweet which confirmed that Tesla will soon be opening an R&D centre and an assembly plant in India.)
Tesla, EV maker and the world's most valuable car company, has officially started its operations in India. The firm is based out of Bengaluru, and high ranking officials have said that the firm is also looking at setting up an R&D facility and eventually an assembly plant. Reports suggest that Tesla's Indian arm goes by the name of Tesla India Motors and Energy Pvt Ltd. The firm has three directors, Vaibhav Taneja as chief accounting officer, entrepreneur Venkatrangam Sreeram and David Jon Feinstein, a technical recruiter from the US. The company was registered on 8 January 2021.
This development comes after Nitin Gadkari, Minister of State for Road Transport and Highway and Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises also confirmed that the firm was looking to make an India debut.
This seems to point towards our assumption that the firm will begin operations in India as a sales company importing its cars into the country as CBUs. We expect key markets within India could initially be Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai followed by other cities like Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune and others going by the trend where EVs are predominantly sold. It is also expected that the EV maker will bring its unique direct sales model to India. The company controls its own sales channels in other markets it operates in, selling its cars via showrooms and centers it owns itself. These centers are even manned by Tesla's own employees. A similar lean approach is employed with after-sales support too.
The first Tesla offering for India will be the entry-level Tesla Model 3. The Model 3 Long Range has a 560 km claimed range according to the WLTP cycle. It gets from 0 to 100 kmph in 4.8s. This time drops to 3.5s in the Performance version, which also gets 20-inch wheels, in place of the standard 18-inch or optional 19-inches in the Long Range. The Performance version's range is 530 km, both weigh 1,847 kg. The Model 3 will come in as a CBU initially, bringing prices to approx. Rs 55-60 lakh, ex-showroom. Although with the expected assembly plant in the works, this figure could reduce. There's still no word on Tesla's strategy with its well regarded Supercharger network for the Indian market.
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