New Delhi: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said American electric car major Tesla has a golden opportunity to set up its manufacturing facility in India given the country’s thrust on e-vehicles.
Tesla is already sourcing various auto components from Indian automakers and setting up base here would be economically viable for it, Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs Minister Gadkari said while addressing a session at the Raisina Dialogue.
“I will suggest to them (Tesla) that it will be a golden opportunity for them to start manufacturing facility in India because as the automobile components are concerned, already Tesla is taking a lot of components from the Indian manufacturers. So there will be availability,” the minister said.
At the same time, the Indian market will be good for Tesla also, he added.
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Gadkari exuded confidence that given the improvement in Indian products, within two years India would be capable of producing e-vehicles of Tesla’s standard.
“So in the interest of Tesla, I suggest that you start manufacturing as early as possible. It will be beneficial for you,” Gadkari said.
He said as far as manufacturing elsewhere and only marketing in India was concerned, the company was free to do it but “if they manufacture here in India we will support them.”
He also said Tesla can make industrial clusters and create and develop its own vendors here.
“They can export a lot of vehicles from India and as compared with the other countries, it will be economically viable,” the minister said.
The government has a special thrust on e-vehicles and such vehicles will be easily available in six months to one year span and the scenario will change, he said.
“It is good for them (Tesla). I request them and suggest them but it is up to them to decide about it. But meanwhile, within two years whatever the e-vehicles we are getting into the market from Indian companies, they will be up to the mark of Tesla,” he asserted.
The minister added that at a preliminary stage Tesla wants to start marketing, beginning with Bengaluru, Delhi and Mumbai.
Post-approval to the vehicles scrapping policy, “within five years India will be number one manufacturing hub for electric vehicle in the world”, he said.
The minister noted that steel, aluminium, copper and rubber will be easily available from scrapped vehicles for recycling and added that mass production will make electric vehicles economically viable.
Gadkari further said he will be requesting government departments and public undertakings to purchase e-vehicles.
The minister emphasised that India has the potential to become the largest EV (electric vehicle) producer in the world in the next five years.
Gadkari has been pushing for green fuel and electric vehicles for cutting India”s huge Rs 8 lakh crore crude imports.
Earlier this year, Tesla registered its Indian arm. Tesla Inc co-founder and chief executive Elon Musk had in October 2020 said the company will enter the Indian market in 2021.
The Maharashtra government had earlier said it is looking for potential investment from Tesla in the state and has held discussions with the company.
Besides, Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had in February said Tesla would set up a manufacturing unit in the state.
Talking about economic stress on account of COVID, Gadkari said the government will win the economic war with multiple steps it has initiated like promotion of ethanol, methanol and bio CNG, among others.
Ethanol economy, he said, will be taken to Rs 5 lakh crore in five years.
He also said he had asked automakers to make flex engines like in the US, Canada and Brazil.