Tesla’s India entry delayed due to challenging government regulations: Elon Musk

Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Wednesday that he would love to roll out Tesla cars in India but the tough government regulations have forced him to apply the brakes on his India plans till date.
SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk | AP
SpaceX chief executive Elon Musk | AP

NEW DELHI: Despite having a very aggressive road ahead for a faster adaptation of electrical vehicles, India is yet to see the segment’s most glamourous player, Tesla, making its mark in the country. And, according to Tesla chief executive officer (CEO) Elon Musk, some tough government regulations were the cause for the delay in the carmaker’s India entry.

“Would love to be in India. Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately,” Musk responded to a Twitter user on Wednesday who had noted that Tesla was not yet present in India. While the carmaker hasn’t entered the Indian market yet, China is fast becoming a company favourite with reports stating that Tesla is on its way to set up a factory for its vehicle in China. This is set to be its first production facility outside the United States.

Musk said the company’s CFO Deepak Ahuja, who is from India, believes the company should enter the country soon. “Deepak Ahuja, our CFO, is from India. Tesla will be there as soon as he believes we should,” Musk said.

Ahuja, a seasoned auto industry finance executive with 15 years experience at Ford Motor Company, joined Tesla Motors as Chief Financial Officer in 2010. He holds Bachelors' and Masters' degrees in Materials Engineering from Banaras Hindu University and Northwestern University, respectively and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. Ahuja works out of Tesla's San Carlos headquarters. He quit Tesla in 2015, only to join it back in 2017.

This is not the first time that the billionaire tech boss has hinted that the company might put its India plans on hold because of regulatory hurdles, even though last year in February he had announced that Tesla cars could possibly be cruising down Indian roads in the summer of 2017.

For instance, in May last year Musk had tweeted that local sourcing norms and supply issues are delaying Tesla’s India plans.

Back then, the government’s ‘Make in India’ Twitter handle had responded quickly stating that the foreign direct investment (FDI) policy does not mandate any such minimum sourcing of components by manufacturers. However, Musk had again in June 2017 said that the company is pushing for import tax waivers to launch the vehicle in the country until a factory is built. Post this twitter exchange, not much has been divulged in public.

Tesla is not the first global technology major that has had regulatory problems. While Apple Inc is looking to expand contract manufacturing operations in India after witnessing a ‘new first-half record,’ the way might be open for direct manufacturing with Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad stating on Wednesday said that India is “open and flexible” on negotiating terms the company.

Musk has revealed plans to install 10,000 Supercharger stations for his company's electric vehicles around the world by 2019 end. He tweeted a global map of the upcoming Supercharger stations, mainly in Europe, North America and China but not in India.

There are at present 1,229 Supercharger stations across the world, with 9,623 Superchargers installed which can charge an electric vehicle in just 30 minutes (nearly 80 per cent capacity).

Tesla recently confirmed that it has produced its 300,000th vehicle. There are now 212,821 Model S vehicles, 71,927 Model X vehicles, and 1,770 Model 3 vehicles.

(With inputs from IANS)

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