‘What matters is…": PM Narendra Modi reacts to Tesla’s upcoming India debut

Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he is a fan of PM Narendra Modi. For the Indian prime minister, what is more important is that Musk is a supporter of Ind
PM Narendra Modi
File photo of PM Narendra Modi. Highlighting the big strides taken by India in the EV space, PM Modi has underlined the enormous job potential at hand from the sector. (PTI)
PM Narendra Modi
File photo of PM Narendra Modi. Highlighting the big strides taken by India in the EV space, PM Modi has underlined the enormous job potential at hand from the sector.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk is all set to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi later this month. The last time the South Africa-born, American businessman met the Indian Prime Minister, he said he is his fan. When asked about this during the course of a recent interview, PM Modi said it matters more that Musk is a ‘supporter of India.’

Tesla, the world's largest EV company, has been eyeing India - the world's third-largest vehicle market in terms of sales - for several years now. Musk and PM Modi have met on two previous occasions but it is the upcoming meeting that is expected to make Tesla's India debut official. And it could hold a lot of potential for both Tesla as well as India's EV march.

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Underlining the rapid progress in the electric vehicle (EV) space that India has already made, PM Modi highlighted during an interview to news agency ANI that the country has come a long way over the past decade. “Him (Musk) being a Modi supporter is one thing. But what matters is he is a supporter of India," he said. "Our EV market is huge. In 2014-15, around 2,000 EVs were sold. In 2023-24, 12 lakh EVs were sold. India is showing the world the sheer pace of creating an EV ecosystem."

PM Modi also explained that his top priority when it comes to EVs is to ensure that the country's youth are at the center of it. For this, he also referred to the enormous job potential. “I want investments to come to India (but) it does not matter who has invested money. What matters is that the sweat put into the work is of our own people. The product has to have the essence of our soil. It (EV ecosystem) will have employment opportunities for the young in our country."

India's EV revolution is currently underway and while the charge is primarily being led by two and three-wheelers, there is also enormous potential for electric cars to become far more common than these are today. Then there is the added benefit environmental benefit of zero-emission vehicles, a fact that PM Modi also touched upon during the interview to ANI.

A Tale of Tesla in the Land of India

Tesla has long expressed a desire to enter the Indian automotive space. And while electric car penetration in the country is at just around two per cent currently - against seven per cent in the US and 23 per cent in China, the potential for growth is huge.

The Indian government recently made changes to the country's EV policy that allowed lower import duty on EVs as long as companies made commitments towards local manufacturing and sourcing. This has fast-tracked Tesla's ambitions of an India entry with company officials reportedly scouting for a site for a manufacturing plant as well as showroom sites in New Delhi and Mumbai.

Also Read : Tesla may partner Reliance for its India plant

It is important to note here that Tesla will initially bring in its EVs via the import route and has already begun manufacturing right-hand-drive versions of its EVs at its German facility. But multiple reports highlight that the company will eventually announce investments worth up to $3 billion and ensure that its production base here serves not just the local customers but export markets as well.

First Published Date: 15 Apr 2024, 19:01 PM IST

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