TORONTO: Elon Musk to meet PM Modi on India visit, set to unveil EV plan

TORONTO: Elon Musk to meet PM Modi on India visit, set to unveil EV plan

TORONTO: Elon Musk is set to come to India to meet PM Narendra Modi and announce a much-awaited plan to make Tesla electric cars in the country. The widely-speculated move was announced by the maverick but charismatic global business leader – who also runs satellite communications company Starlink and micro-blogging platform X (earlier Twitter) – through X handle, “Looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in India!”

Musk will be travelling to India later this month and his visit comes during the peak election season. It will signal govt’s success in getting a marquee investor to set up shop in India and help create jobs. After Apple’s vendors, who relocated from China, Tesla is expected to be the biggest investment story for Modi govt.

Musk’s visit had been speculated right from the time of ‘Vibrant Gujarat’ investor summit in Jan this year and became “more or less a certainty” after the EV policy for new entrants was announced recently. The policy offers import duty concessions for five years to companies that invest $500 million or more in setting up a manufacturing facility in India and source components here. The policy itself was announced days ahead of the poll announcement.
All indications point to Musk visiting India to announce his ambitious project, groundwork for which is being done for years. The project is likely to see Tesla commit at least $2-3 billion investment as it sets up a factory to manufacture entry-level electric cars (speculated as Model 2, notwithstanding the recent question marks around the development of the product), to be priced around Rs 25 lakh.

In earlier briefings of its plans with govt, the American EV maker – which is under pressure recently over the fall in its stock price (dropped by nearly a third in 2024) and sales slump – had indicated an aggressive capacity of five lakh units annually, fulfilling Musk’s much-cherished dreams of an affordable EV.

An aggressively-priced electric car in a growing market like India will provide Tesla with ammunition it needs to quell investor discontent, while arresting decline in sales. Tesla will announce Q1 results on April 23, to be followed by investors call where Musk is likely to brief analysts.

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