As Tesla continues to grow, the next major market opportunity may be in India. Government officials began to talk openly about discussing with Tesla about the company's entry into the market and the possible construction of its next Gigafactory in the country. Meanwhile, a rivalry has emerged amongst the states of India in a race to land a potential Tesla factory.
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In late September, it became known that Tesla was considering investing in Karnataka for a research and development center in Bangalore. Maharashtra and Karnataka are not the only contenders in this race. The game also reportedly hosts Gujarat, a major automotive hub and the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“Several of the state EV policies have strong incentives for setting up manufacturing and Gigafactories, including Telangana and Gujarat,” said Anjali Jaiswal, the senior director of the international program India Team, Natural Resources Defense Council.
Craig Irwin of Roth Capital said he was aware of Tesla's plans for India. “We have channel checks from a couple of months back that indicates the entry into the Indian market is a very high probability for 2021, with a probable announcement in late 2020,” he said to CNBC. “Tesla is in the process of selecting a site for a manufacturing facility in India,” said Irwin indicating a launch by the end of 2020.
Another analyst, David Whiston, of Morningstar Equity, said that if Elon Musk develops a good relationship with Modi, as he has with the Chinese government, Tesla's development in India will be a success.
CNBC reported that Vivek Wadhwa, author of The Driver in the Driverless Car: How Our Technology Choices Will Create the Future, exchanged emails with Musk. He said that it is a good time for Tesla to enter the Indian market. “There is no better time than now, given that his battery costs have dropped and he is expanding his manufacturing capabilities,” said Wadhwa.
Meanwhile, Indian technology think tank Niti Aayog recently shared a proposal to provide $4.6 billion in incentives to companies that are building cutting edge manufacturing facilities. This proposal is under consideration by the government, and if it passes, it could be an important factor in Tesla's decision-making.
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