NEW DELHI: Tesla founder Elon Musk hailed India’s aim to move to an all-electric fleet by 2030, on a day when President Donald Trump said the US will withdraw from the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Tesla enthusiasts in India may indeed have much to look forward in the coming days, as Musk responded positively to a tweet from Anand Mahindra, who prodded him to bring his electric cars to this country.
Musk welcoming India’s move comes close on the heels of the Canadian-American businessman announcing his resignation from all three positions on the Presidential Councils, over Trump’s decision to exit the Paris Climate Agreement.
“Climate change is real. Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world,” Musk tweeted, not hiding his dismay at the move. While he was upset with the US President, Musk was more than pleased with the Indian government’s plans on electric vehicles and China’s efforts to enhance production of clean energy. “India commits to sell only electric cars by 2030. It is already the largest market for solar power,” he tweeted. Power minister Piyush Goyal had said in April that India was looking at having an all-electric car fleet by 2030 with an objective to reduce fuel imports and running cost of vehicles. But oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan told ET last month that the government had not taken a final decision on this.
Nevertheless, Musk’s tweet attracted a swarm of response from Tesla enthusiasts from India, including the chairman of Mahindra & Mahindra, who reached out to Musk on the microblogging platform. “Time you got here Elon. You don’t want to leave that whole market to Mahindra, do you? The more – the merrier – and greener…!” The Space X founder conceded this a good point. The developments happen also within days of the Indian government clarifying that the electric car maker will not have to source components locally for manufacturing in India.
Musk had indicated his firm may have to put on hold launch plans in the Indian market due to the absence of an ecosystem for supply of components. In an answer to a query about Tesla’s India plans, he had said: “Maybe I’m misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply does not yet exist in India to support that.” Musk had earlier indicated Tesla was likely to launch in India in the summer of 2017. The government statement (on May 23) came as a response to Musk expressing concern.
The 30% sourcing condition is only applicable if a foreign company opens a wholly owned single-brand retail store in India. A foreign investor, on the other hand, is permitted to sell wholesale, retail or ecommerce after manufacturing in India. The foreign investment policy also permits wholesale of imported goods without sourcing conditions, according to the commerce ministry statement. ET was first to report that Tesla need not source locally to set up base here.
Minister for road transport and highways Nitin Gadkari has offered Tesla land near ports so it can set up a manufacturing unit and make India an export base. Tesla has yet to commit. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also shown keen interest in some of Tesla’s inventions, particularly in renewable energy sector.