It isn’t clear how and when Tesla plans to service customers in India who had pre-booked its Model 3 sedan. Moreover, even if the company makes a formal entry into the country later this year or next year, India lacks adequate charging infrastructure, especially for high-voltage electric vehicles such as those Tesla builds.
While India has set an ambitious target of moving to 100 percent electric mobility by 2030, it is continuing to push for local sourcing in order to boost the country’s manufacturing sector. Tesla, which is more akin to a technology firm than a traditional auto manufacturer would find it hard to meet the 30 per cent local sourcing norm from day one.
A workaround to India’s local sourcing requirements for Tesla could be to manufacture the lithium-ion batteries here, a move which Musk had said would make more sense for Tesla in the long run. “Given high local demand, a Gigafactory in India would probably make sense in the long term,” Musk had said in 2015.
However, while India has been on Musk’s radar for a long time now, it’s unlikely that the company would rush to manufacture batteries here anytime soon. Tesla began producing lithium-ion cells at its own Gigafactory facility in the Nevada desert in January, with only a third of the facility said to be complete.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Elon Musk and toured the Tesla headquarters during his visit to Silicon Valley in 2015. The two leaders are said to have discussed the implications of development of battery technology, energy storage and renewable energy for India. Musk had apparently made a pitch for bringing the company’s Power Wall energy storage unit to the country.
Earlier this month, Tesla began taking orders for its Solar Roof - roofing tiles embedded with solar panels - with Musk saying that it could be ordered from almost any country. However, on the company’s website, India did not figure on the list of countries where Tesla would take per-orders for its Solar Roof.