Tesla and Make in India: A roadway to cleaner and greener India, but how soon?

How about the upcoming Tesla models being churned out from Indian lands. Atleast, that is what the Modi government is hoping for.

How about the upcoming Tesla models being churned out from Indian lands. Atleast, that is what the Modi government is hoping for.

Months after PM Modi's Tesla factory visit in San Francisco, India’s Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari has met Tesla executives in the bid to increase the adoption of encourage pollution-free road transport. He has put forth a proposal asking Elon Musk to opt for India while setting up its Asian manufacturing assembly hub. If reports online are to be believed, then he has even assured land near major Indian ports so that it would help export to South East Asian countries.


On his visit to the Tesla factory, Gadkari put forth Modi's proposal and also offered to promote JVs between Tesla and Indian automobile companies. This would help promote pollution-free road transport in India with the focus on commercial and public vehicles such as trucks, buses and two-wheelers.

In response, Tesla said it appreciated the cooperation and would consider the proposal when the right time comes, which is speculated to be when the Model 3 is out. However, the company is believed to be in talks with partners in China, as the company plans to build its manufacturing plant there. In fact, Musk is known to be in the midst of signing a deal in Shanghai soon. For governments like India and China, an electric vehicle plant is of great potential, especially considering both countries are home to cities with high-level pollution.


For India, it is a gateway to push vehicles with no emissions. According to this Greenpeace report, dramatic improvements in China and continuing deterioration of air quality in India has led to 2015 being the first time that the average Indian was exposed to more particulate pollution than the average Chinese. In the past few months, there have been consistent efforts by governments of various states. For instance, Maharashtra government is talking about offering tax sops like waiver on certain road taxes and registration charges for electric vehicles. Delhi and Karnataka have also axed local taxes on EVs to encourage no emission vehicles.

PM Modi had visited Tesla factory last year when Musk gave him the tour of the factory himself. India was soon among the list of countries that took pre-orders for the Tesla’s Model 3 unveiled at $35,000. Musk also tweeted about how a Gigafactory in India would make sense in the long term. It is in line with PM Modi's reportedly ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2022. We wonder if Elon Musk will accept the proposal when its 'right time'.

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