Chennai-based automobile manufacturer Ashok Leyland has invited Tesla for a partnership to help Elon Musk bring the Tesla brand of electric vehicles to India.
Citing Venkatesh Natarajan, senior vice president and chief digital officer of Ashok Leyland, a Livemint report said that the company is open to Musk’s offer. However, according to the senior executive, multiple agencies will be involved in this process.
Owned by Hinduja Group, Ashok Leyland had reported a revenue of INR 6,325 Cr in Q3 of FY 2018-19. In 2017, the automobile company had also revealed its plans to invest $61.5 Mn-$77 Mn (INR 400 Cr-INR 500 Cr) into its electric vehicle business over the next three to five years.
This development comes in after Elon Musk expressed his interest in expanding its operation in India this year or definitely by next year. In March, Musk has tweeted, “would love to be in India this year, in not, then definitely by next!”.
Tesla’s Attempts To Enter Indian Market
Elon Musk has been attempting to enter the Indian market since a long time however has not been able to reach the goal.
Prior to this, in November 2018, Musk had hinted that his company has plans to establish a ‘partial presence’ in India, Africa, and South America by the end of next year with an aim to expand further in 2020.
In mid-2017, Elon Musk had tried to explore export of Tesla to India, however, after September 2017 reports that Tesla had reached out to the government for expansion into India, there has been no visible activity to further this expansion.
Apart from this Tesla has been looking to expand its product portfolio to maintain its dominant position in the electric vehicles market. Earlier in April, Elon Musk had said that it is also aiming to launch ‘robotaxis’ as part of its broader vision for achieving autonomous ride-sharing network in 2020.
He revealed that all the new vehicles are now being produced with a custom full self-driving computer chip which meets the hardware requirements for a self-driving feature.
Is India Ready For Tesla?
While Tesla may have been interested in launching its products in India, the big question remains that is Indian infrastructure ready to support Tesla vehicles?
Currently, electric vehicles in India is at a nascent stage and the infrastructure to support emobility is yet to be developed.
Apart from that, electric vehicles manufactured by foreign companies are build to suit the western roads which also forms a major setback in this country and Indian roads are bumpier and of lower quality.
A major setback in the possibility of autonomous cars in India is the challenging conditions of roads and of course charging infrastructure. Apart from the budding technology in the country, Indian roads are more difficult to navigate than western countries, thanks to congestion and poor quality.