Insider sources familiar with the Indian government’s discussions have revealed that a deal with Tesla Inc. appears to be inching closer.
The proposed deal outlines an initial investment of approximately $2 billion from Tesla into the plant and an ambitious plan to boost auto part purchases from India by up to $15 billion. To cut costs, Tesla aims to manufacture some batteries within India. However, the specifics are subject to change, caution the sources.
While a formal announcement is anticipated at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in January, no decision has been finalized. The states of Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Tamil Nadu are being weighed as potential locations for the plant due to their established electric vehicle ecosystems and export capabilities.
Elon Musk, Tesla’s CEO, previously expressed plans for a significant investment in India and a potential visit in 2024. Yet, both Tesla and Indian government representatives refrained from commenting on the ongoing negotiations.
For Tesla, penetrating the Indian market, marked by a burgeoning interest in electric vehicles among the middle class, presents a lucrative opportunity. Despite India’s push for domestic EV manufacturing and cleaner transport adoption, the EV market has struggled to gain traction due to high upfront costs and inadequate charging infrastructure.
Tesla currently avoids direct car imports to India due to steep tariffs. Once locally manufactured, these cars might hit the market with price tags as low as $20,000, sources suggest. Piyush Goyal, India’s Trade Minister, previously announced Tesla’s intentions to increase auto part purchases from India substantially.
The renewed discussions between Tesla and India mark a pivotal turnaround after a year-long deadlock, marked by Elon Musk’s critiques of India’s import taxes and EV policies. India is reportedly considering reduced import taxes for international EV manufacturers who commit to establishing local production units.
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