Musk teases Tesla entry into India
Responding to a query on Twitter, Elon Musk said that Tesla could enter the Indian market early next year.
Even though there is little information about Tesla’s business plans for India, fans are cheering on account of the first concrete timeframe announced for when the car could be available in the country. Straight from the horse’s mouth. Responding to one of the many queries directed at him on Twitter, asking when Indians would get to drive one of their cars, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted, “Will release order configurator probably in Jan.”
This means that his electric vehicle manufacturing company is working on creating custom sales and production orders for the local market, followed by completing and validating orders once the configuration is finished. So, the company can probably release details about where to book a car in India as early as January next year when customers will be able to select India as one of the countries where the cars can be purchased.
Musk had also made a similar statement earlier in the month when in response to a post that said “India wants Tesla”, he said “Next year for sure. Thanks for waiting”. Giving the time frame of January only makes this announcement a little more concrete. The Indian government would be pleased with this development given the focus on promoting the use and manufacture of electric vehicles. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has certainly been courting him. He visited Tesla headquarters at Palo Alto, California in 2015 when Musk gave him a tour of the manufacturing plant.
But it might be premature to celebrate. With business plans still up in the air, it’s unclear whether Musk plans to set up a manufacturing plant in Tesla or import them from the nearest one, the Gigafactory in Shanghai, China. Currently, the only Asian market where Tesla has a presence is in China. Besides, the electric vehicles culture and infrastructure are still very basic in India compared to the West and even some Asian markets. However, there has been a push to build more charging infrastructure for electric vehicles in order to increase the presence of these vehicles on the road.
Besides, Tesla’s entry into India may not necessarily mean an immediate setting up of showrooms for sales of cars. They are also reportedly in talks with the state government to establish an R&D centre in Bengaluru. Could Musk’s tweet be about this? He has mentioned bringing Tesla to India several times before but also complained about “some challenging government regulations”, including foreign direct investment norms.