Next year for sure
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2020
If recent reports are to be believed then Billionaire Elon Reeve Musk’s Tesla motors could be in play to enter the Indian markets next year. It was in response to a Twitter handle named Tesla Club India that the innovative businessman said, ”Next year for sure.” Giving way to rising speculations that the electric car maker might actually be entering the country in some form or the other. Musk is also the chief designer of SpaceX which can focus on collaboration with ISRO.
One of the prime reasons for this response by Musk, if true can be contributed to the government’s recent policy changes and the very lucrative $4.6 billion dollar grant for EV battery makers in an effort to reduce the dependence of Automakers on fossil fuels, in response to report by Niti Aayog that oil imports could be cut by $40 billion if EVs are widely adopted in India. India is quite far behind on its EV quota despite being a car purchasing and manufacturing powerhouse.
While the Twitter response by Musk is believed by a lot of fans as a shining ray of hope that the automaker will enter the country, it must be realised that Tesla is not an average car maker, its pricey Model S costs upwards of $70,000 (Rs. 1 crore, approx on-road price in India), with the performance model adding $30,000 extra, the car is equivalent of an Mercedes-Benz EQC SUV, or a BMW M5 sedan, which in India are upwards of a crore, and although Tesla has promised to bring a $25,000 car to the market, it would still be a niche product, with customers going for it because of the brand name and luxurious performance in spite of the poor state of EV charging infrastructure in the country that limits the cars range and capability to perform.
Talking about the Indian on-road pricing of other Tesla models, $33,690 Model 3 base variant can cost Rs. 48 lakh, $74,690 Model X base variant can go up to Rs. 1.08 crore and $45,690 Model Y base can be priced around Rs. 66 lakh. In the pipeline is the globally famed Cybertruck. Tesla also sells Solar Roof for $14,873 (Rs. 11 lakh) and Solar Panels at $1.49/Watt (Rs. 109) which can become a profitable business venture in India for home & commercial sector.
While Tesla attempting to establish a manufacturing unit in India would make sense for the availability of cheap labor and government incentives, it would still be better off with a unit in other south eastern nations such as South Korea owing to their manufacturing prowess in automobiles and for the very clear fact that India is just not a very attractive market for a company like Tesla to foray into.
Several other news reports have suggested that India’s IT capital, Bengaluru is in the carmaker’s sight for the development of a research and development centre, which seems like a more logical step as the city is home to a big chunk of R&D centres of global brands. Chances of Tesla taking a leap with India, where the market does not seem up to the size to fit the automaker is slim, rest remains to be seen.
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