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Modi and Musk: Tesla all-electric car may drive into India soon, but what it means for you

  • Elon Musk wants to bring the much-hyped Tesla car into India.
  • He is 'hoping' it hits Indian roads by summer this year.
Elon Musk hopes Tesla will drive into India soon What it means to users
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During PM Modi's visit to the Silicon Valley in 2015, Elon Musk gave him a tour of the Tesla factory. Soon after the visit, India was listed among the names of the countries allowed to pre-order the new Tesla Model 3 that is priced at $35,000. 



The Model 3 for India means the entry of an aspirational brand that adheres to what our government has been seeking – low CO2 emissions. Tesla's model S and X, that didn’t make it to the Indian market, were accompanied by hefty price tags. The pre-owned ones were reportedly selling for over $50000. A test drive of the Model X could require a deposit of $5000.


Now, at $35,000 the Model 3 is the cheapest. Yes, you heard that right. It is classier than the previous models, and comes with autopilot and other technological advancements. However, you will have to pay additional to activate these features.



Model 3 comes with new design traits and manages to get a range of at least 215 miles per charge. Well, that’s no comparison to your gasoline car, but it’s better than other electric cars available today.


Roughly translating to Rs 23.5 lakh, it still comes in the uber-premium category. That makes it out of the reach for most consumers. While the suave Model S with a dainty design would be out of reach, Tesla’s entry would give the much required boost to the Indian electric automobile industry.


A couple of years ago, several experts had predicted that we will see a rise in electric cars and charging stations, but that clearly hasn’t been the case. We still don’t have enough charging stations, and that puts the hybrid cars at the forefront.


Meanwhile, government has been trying to promote the adoption of eco-friendly cars by offering several schemes that offer benefits. The initiative called Faster Adoption of Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric Vehicles (FAME) got Rs 175 crore for financial year 2018, which is an increase from Rs 123 crore seen for FY-17. In FY-15, the government had allocated Rs 75 crore, the year the initiative was launched.


The incentives are offered in the range of Rs 1,800 to Rs 29,000 for battery run scooters and motorcycles, and Rs 13,000 to Rs 1.38 lakh for four wheelers. Besides, three-wheelers it is from Rs 3,300 and Rs 61,000 and buses from Rs 34 lakh to Rs 66 lakh.


In fact, months after PM Modi’s Tesla factory visit, reports about India’s Transport and Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari meeting Tesla executives had surfaced. In order to encourage the adoption of pollution-free road transport, he is believed to have asked Elon Musk to opt for India while setting up its Asian manufacturing assembly hub.


The report adds that Gadkari had put forth Modi’s proposal and also offered to promote JVs between Tesla and Indian automobile companies. All of this to promote eco-friendly transport in India. Musk had reportedly said they were happy with the cooperation and would consider the proposal was it’s the ‘right time’.


The alarming rise in pollution has put electric vehicles at the centre-stage and it also means a great potential in setting up a plant here. State governments have been actively working at solutions. For instance, Delhi and Karnataka are said to have slashed local taxes on EVs to encourage no emission vehicles.


It could also mean a closer move to realising the dream of the Gigafactory in India. This would mean easy availability, paving way to larger adoption. Gigafactory is the term being used for the manufacturing facility that produces batteries being used in electric cars. It would be in line with Modi's ambitious target of generating 100 GW of solar power by 2022. 

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