Tesla set to drive on Indian roads in 2021: Model 3 electric car to start EV maker’s India journey

Gadkari said Tesla would first start by selling its cars in India — the India price of the Tesla Model 3 should be in the Rs 55-60 lakh range — and depending upon the response, maybe look at assembly and manufacturing operations as well.

By:Updated: Dec 29, 2020 11:14 AM
Tesla Model 3

 

The world’s most expensive automobile firm, Tesla, valued at more than double the combined value of Toyota, Ford and General Motors will ‘start operations’ in India early next year, road transport minister Nitin Gadkari said at the Express Group’s Idea Exchange.  A day prior to this, in response to a question by a fan on whether Tesla would be in India in January, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had replied “No, but definitely this year”. Gadkari said Tesla would first start by selling its cars in India — the India price of the Tesla Model 3 should be in the Rs 55-60 lakh range — and depending upon the response, maybe look at assembly and manufacturing operations as well.

“India is going to become a number one manufacturing hub for electric vehicles in five years”, Gadkari said. Gadkari added that Indian companies were also working on electric vehicles and in due course of time, “you will get electric cars which will be equal to Tesla. I am confident and the cost will be very less”. Gadkari added that in due course India would be the “number one manufacturer” of electric vehicles like cars, bikes, trucks, tractors and construction machinery that run on electricity.

He further said a lot of small companies have started manufacturing electric scooters and bikes in factories in Uttar Pradesh and other parts of the country. And that there is already a lot of research going on to indigenously develop an alternative to lithium-ion batteries since most lithium-ion batteries are imported from China. “There are some problems related to lithium-ion. Argentina has got huge reserves of lithium-ion. Our Indian players are also trying to get lithium-ion the world over. But this is also true that the Chinese have already picked up stakes in majority of the lithium-ion mines,” he said adding that Indian researchers were now trying to invent a better alternative to lithium-ion batteries.

“Take for example Isro sending satellite, using a different type of batteries. Research is going on and we will get the solution for that. Sodium ion batteries are also in the process of being made. The research is in the final stages. I am very much confident about our IITs and engineering graduates. In this field we will get success. The sodium ion batteries are very cheap”. Speaking about the developing ecosystem for EVs, Gadkari said research is on to invent aluminium-ion batteries also and he has already inaugurated heavy construction machinery that run on electricity. “The important thing is already there is a lot of sale of the electric buses, like in Mumbai and Pune, Nagpur etc.

They are there in airports also. Even electric tractor is now in the process of being manufactured. One of the leading companies wants to launch electric truck. Just 20 days ago I launched a JCB on CNG. So a lot of change is going on and we are 100% certain that it is very cost effective, import-substitute, pollution-free and indigenous. We have already in the process of making (vehicle) scrapping policy. With the scrapping policy, I am confident that India will be the number one manufacturing hub in the world,” he said.

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