Elon Musk to meet PM Modi this month, expected to announce EV plans in India; Tesla may partner with Reliance

RNS: Tesla CEO Elon Musk is set to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India this month to discuss plans for investing in and establishing a new electric vehicle (EV) manufacturing facility. Sources have informed Reuters that Musk will meet Modi in New Delhi during the week of April 22 to announce his intentions in India.

Musk is expected to be accompanied by other senior executives for the meeting. However, reports suggest that Musk’s final itinerary for his India trip could still change.

Modi and Musk previously met in New York in June, following which Tesla actively engaged with India to reduce import duties on electric vehicles as the country explored opportunities for local manufacturing.

India recently slashed EV import tariffs from 100% to 15% for certain models, provided the manufacturer invests $500 million and establishes a factory in the country.

Reuters also reported that Tesla executives will visit India this month to evaluate potential sites for a $2 billion manufacturing facility. It is rumored that Tesla is currently producing right-hand drive vehicles at its German plant for export to India later this year.

Musk reiterated this week, “India should have electric cars just like other countries. The arrival of Tesla electric vehicles in India is inevitable.”

Tesla’s entry into the Indian market comes at a time when demand for electric vehicles in its primary markets, the US and China, has slowed down.

India’s EV market, although small, is growing rapidly, with Tata Motors currently dominating the market share. In 2023, EVs accounted for 2% of total car sales in India, with the government aiming to increase this figure to 30% by 2030.

Tesla’s presence in the Indian market is expected to stimulate further investments in EVs and benefit local auto parts manufacturers, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, Tesla is exploring the possibility of forming a partnership with Reliance to set up its operations in India. The American electric vehicle company is contemplating a joint venture with Reliance to establish a manufacturing facility within the country, reported The Hindu Businessline.

Reportedly, Tesla has allocated $2 billion for its upcoming ventures in India and has been surveying different locations, such as Gujarat and Maharashtra, as potential sites for the plant. According to the report, Maharashtra is emerging as the preferred option for the plant’s location.

During an X (formerly Twitter) Spaces session alongside Nicolai Tangen, CEO of Norges Bank Investment Management, Elon Musk confirmed Tesla’s entry into India. “India is now the most populous country in the world. India should have electric cars just like every other country has electric cars. It is a natural progression to provide Tesla electric vehicles in India,” he said.

According to a Reuters report, Tesla’s top boss Elon Musk will visit India this month to hold a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and is expected to announce plans to invest and open a new EV manufacturing plant in India, media reported.

Reuters reported citing sources that Musk will meet Modi in New Delhi in the week starting on April 22 and separately announce his plans in India.

According to the Hindu Buisnessline report, During Musk’s visit, it is expected that Tesla will finalize the location for the plant and formalize a joint venture with RIL. However, given that the discussions with RIL are not exclusive, Tesla may consider seeking another domestic partner if the ongoing negotiations with RIL do not materialize.

Last month, India reduced import taxes on specific electric vehicles produced by manufacturers willing to invest at least $500 million and commence domestic manufacturing within three years. This decision was viewed as strengthening Tesla’s prospects in the market.

Tesla has been striving to establish a presence in India for several years, but negotiations with New Delhi required a commitment to local manufacturing.

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