A two worded tweet from the richest man on Earth, Elon Musk, heralded the much-anticipated entry of Tesla, Inc., the American green energy automotive giant into the Indian subcontinent.
Tesla was founded in 2003 by two American entrepreneurs Martin Eberhard and Marc Tarpenning. It was named after the renowned Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla. It came into the limelight in 2008, with the Tesla Roadster’s launch, a fully electric car, designed on the Lotus Elise chassis.
Company tests revealed the car achieving a range of 394 kms in a single charge, which is staggering numbers for an electric car. In 2008, Musk took over the company’s reins and raised an initial public offering (IPO) of $226 million.
Cut to the present, with the EV market in India expected to grow at a robust Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 43.13% during the forecasted period of 2019-2030; it is only logical for Tesla to be eyeing the expansive Indian market. Numerically speaking, the Indian Energy Storage Alliance (IESA) has reported that the EV market in India is expected to hit over 63 lakh units per annum by 2027.
On its arrival, Tesla has planned to launch the Model-3, which carries a mouth-watering price tag of ₹60 Lakh (ex-showroom). This ensures that the present Indian EV market players like Tata Motors with its NEXON-EV and TIGOR-EV and Mahindra & Mahindra with its E-VERITO in the budget car range (9–18 lakhs) and Hyundai Motors with its KONA ELECTRIC and Morris Garage with its MG ZS EV in the mid-range car segment (20–25 lakhs) shall remain rather unaffected, as long as pricing is concerned.
Tesla’s roadmap of future launches looks rather expensive for an average Indian car buyer:
Tesla’s plans of importing the cars from its California facility may further shoot up the prices, considering the high import taxes charged by the Government of India. Environmental Consciousness is a practically non-existent in the sub-continent, which further makes Tesla’s USP obsolete.
Tesla’s flagship AI technology with the Automatic Lane Change function looks useless, considering the country’s blatant disregard to lane-discipline. Stray cattle lazing around on the streets of Indian cities may also pose a traffic hazard to the cars auto-pilot function.
Another important aspect that needs a lot of attention — Fuel Charging Network. According to a recent report, the country’s electric charging station infrastructure paints an extremely sorry picture. As low as 250 charging stations are currently fully operational across the country, an additional 600 stations have begun operations between December 2020 and Jan 2021. These numbers cannot justify the requirements of a full-fledged electric car network.
However, there is a ray of hope with the government planning to operationalise up to 69,000 new charging stations. But how many of these “plans” materialise into reality is to be seen.
For now, let’s celebrate the entry of another flagship corporate entity in the Indian market and hope that it can play a comprehensive role in controlling carbon emissions, while simultaneously pumping much-required investments in the country.