By Elton Gomes
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has again indicated that at Tesla could be on its way to India soon. Musk in a tweet shed light on Tesla’s expansion plans to market beyond North America, Europe, and China.
Musk further confirmed that Tesla will have a partial presence in India and other countries by the end of 2019 with further expansion in 2020. His tweed said, “hopefully, partial presence in India, Africa & South America end of next year, with broader expansion in 2020,” Financial Express reported.
Tesla attempted to enter India in 2017, but failed due to some misunderstanding between the Indian government and the company. Elon Musk had said due to “some challenging government regulations, unfortunately.” Musk’s plans to have a partial presence in India could mean bringing and selling electric cars and then expanding from there.
Known for its electric cars, Tesla currently has a Gigafactory facility in China. The Gigafactory makes Tesla cars and caters to most of the demand from the Asia-Pacific region. Recently, the company also confirmed that it was able to manufacture as many as 5,000 Model 3 cars in a single day at its Nevada Gigafactory, thus allowing it to deliver pre-ordered units to customers.
A restrictive policy environment holding Tesla back?
In May 2018, Musk took to Twitter again and said that a restrictive policy environment is proving to be a hurdle for local production.
“Would love to be in India,” Musk said in the tweet. “Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately,” he wrote, Bloomberg reported. Musk further said that Tesla will enter India as soon as chief financial officer Deepak Ahuja, who is from India, believes it’s time.
In May last year, Musk said in a tweet, “Maybe I’m misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply doesn’t yet exist in India to support that.” However, the Indian government, via its Make in India Twitter account, clarified that no such hurdle exists.
Could CFO Deepak Ahuja come up with a solution?
Tesla’s India goals depend on its CFO Deepak Ahuja. This come particularly after Musk said that Tesla will enter India as soon as Ahuja believes it should.
Vivek Wadhwa, a distinguished fellow and adjunct professor at Carnegie Mellon, said it seems wise to let Ahuja take a call.
“Deepak [Ahuja] is a very experienced and sensible business executive who knows both the U.S. and Indian markets — as well as the strengths and weaknesses of Tesla,” Wadhwa said. “Ahuja is Elon’s trusted advisor, so it makes complete sense to leave the decision to him,” CNBC reported.
Musk was “very interested in India.” but already had far too much demand for Powerwall, Tesla’s home battery, than he could possibly handle, Wadhwa said.
Wadhwa quoted Musk verbatim from one of their email exchanges: “He [Musk] wrote: ‘India is a very important market, but it will take us a year or so to get to a scale that matters,” as per the CNBC report.
Elton Gomes is a staff writer at Qrius
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