India announced in recent years the ambitious goal of transitioning to sales of only electric vehicles in the country by the year 2030. While admirable, the last few years have not gone according to plan as far as stated goals to date are concerned. Getting to all electric vehicle (EV) sales and eliminating internal combustion engines (ICE) present a large number of challenges for any country, let alone a relatively poor one getting slammed by COVID-19 much worse than most of its Asian neighbors, who have managed to successfully kick the bug.
In this video interview for example you will see that the entire nation of India probably only has about as much charging station infrastructure as California’s Bay Area- alone. A number of other data points and infographics about India’s transportation sector are discussed by guest speaker Vikas Kumar and host Gali of #HyperChange. Most notably the EV revolution in India might not be about cars- but two wheelers and three wheelers such as mopeds, motorcycles, and rickshaws going electric. Sounds pretty interesting.
Tesla and this CEO you might have heard of named Elon Musk have been making intimations that Tesla will be coming to India, whether that be manufacturing or vehicle sales, but so far all we have is rumors and secrets as to the real plans. Vivas discusses some of the roadblocks for Tesla, not least of which is the joint venture regulatory framework in India for foreign companies, designed to protect India’s workforce. That said, Tesla and China were able to arrive at a huge deal which benefited both sides without a joint venture being required.
I know thousands of Tesla buffs in India have been waiting with bated breath for years now. No question there is a market of upper middle class, and rich folks who wouldn’t mind being seen in one. However now the 100% import tariffs slapped on by the government would double the cost of a car for the Indian consumer. A few have gotten shipped over, but not at large scale yet. Below is the first Tesla in India spied on the streets of Mumbai, with the steering wheel right of center for the former Brit colony.
Who knows what will happen? If anyone can manage to squeeze into the large Indian market, Tesla just may. Tesla is becoming a juggernaut in the world of automotive, with its fingers in various juicy pies including vertically integrated manufacturing, some of the best EV batteries in the world, automated driving, automated car share, an upcoming pickup truck unlike any other ever made, and a new semi truck that could lead a revolution in long-haul EV trucking all around the world. Tesla could certainly assist in accelerating the EV road ahead for India, in competition with other EV companies both foreign and domestic. Tesla is clearly the leading player in the world of EV, and first-mover advantage in India at scale would be a prize worth having if Tesla and the notoriously difficult Indian government can figure out a deal. It’s time to find out how serious India is about their EV ambitions. Watch on and enjoy to learn more about India and also Tesla.
Mahanth S. Joishy is Editor of usindiamonitor