Gadkari visited the Tesla factory near San Francisco and offered to promote joint ventures (JVs) between the firm and Indian automobile companies with a view to introducing pollution-free road transport in India, especially commercial and public motor vehicles, an official statement said here on Saturday.
Gadkari said that the Indian Government is committed to encouraging alternate pollution-free transport in the country by providing incentives to bio-fuel, CNG, ethanol and electric vehicles.
“He proposed to senior Tesla executives to make India their company’s Asia manufacturing hub and offered land near major Indian ports to facilitate export of their vehicles to South and South East Asian countries,” the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways said in the statement.
Senior Tesla executives admitted that their manufacturing hub has to be outside the USA for markets in the rest of the world. They appreciated the Indian offer of cooperation, which they said will certainly be considered at the appropriate time in future, the statement said, adding that the company assured the minister that India will definitely be a market for its next generation low-cost sustainable Model-3.
“Replying to specific queries from the transport and highways minister regarding manufacturing of electric trucks, buses and two wheelers, the Tesla team said that it has future plans for trucks and pick-up vans but not buses and two wheelers,” the statement said.
They evinced keen interest in knowing whether there was any subsidy on electric vehicles in India, to which Gadkari asked Tesla executives to outline their proposals for entry into the Indian market.
“Gadkari was informed that 400,000 advance bookings have been done for Tesla’s Model X.
There are some bookings from India. Gadkari apprised Tesla executives of the progress Indian automobile manufacturers have made in the field of electric vehicles and exuded confidence that the Indian market will very soon become very competitive in this sector,” the statement said.
The minister took a round of the sprawling Tesla manufacturing units and saw the cutting edge robotic auto assembly plant. He enquired about the battery packs that can store energy from the power grid and from solar panels, the statement said, adding that Gadkari was told that Tesla was inviting suggestions for locations in India for demonstrations.