Tesla Executives Said to Have Met Invest India CEO for Talks on Plans to Enter India

Two senior Tesla executives discussed the company’s plans to enter India with officials from the country’s investment promotion arm in New Delhi, two people with direct knowledge of the matter said, the latest in a series of high-level talks. 

The US carmaker has expressed an interest in building a factory in India that would produce a low-cost electric vehicle (EV) priced at $24,000 (nearly Rs. 19.7 lakh), around 25 percent cheaper than Tesla’s current entry model, for both the Indian market and export.

The US-based executives — senior public policy and business development executive Rohan Patel, and a vice president for supply chain, Roshan Thomas — are currently in New Delhi and met officials from the Invest India agency, the two sources said, declining to be identified as the discussions were private.

Invest India CEO Nivruti Rai, a former Intel executive, held talks with the Tesla executives during a meeting on Thursday, they added.

Tesla and Invest India did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Most Tesla meetings with Indian officials have been kept under wraps. Reuters reported this week that Tesla representatives will also meet commerce minister Piyush Goyal, with discussions expected to centre on setting up an EV supply chain and land allotment for a factory.

Many Indian states are keen to woo Tesla to set up its plant in their region, but the carmaker is currently focussed on discussing its proposal with the federal government in New Delhi, said one of the sources.

The discussions represent a sharp reversal for the company after efforts last year to reduce import taxes on EVs shipped to India were scuppered by calls from government officials to commit to making cars locally.

© Thomson Reuters 2023

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