Tesla is in talks to open research center in Bengaluru
For years, Elon Musk, the billionaire CEO of EV maker Tesla, has been teasing that their cars would come to India. Now, that plan could be going into motion, as the company has started talks to set up a research and innovation center in the city of Bengaluru, Karnataka. Here is all you need to know about it.
Discussions started with Karnataka government, in preliminary stage
On September 10, Tesla held a meeting with the officials of Karnataka government who are seeking investment from the company in a research facility, The Economic Times reported. A person familiar with the development informed the outlet that "Tesla has shown initial interest to invest in a research and innovation center in Karnataka" but emphasized that "the talks are at a preliminary stage."
Second meeting scheduled for later this month
The exploratory discussions will be followed up with a meeting, which is scheduled for later this month. During this meet, the state officials are expected to present Tesla executives a detailed proposal for the research center investment, which will define how the discussions will move forward. Neither the state officials nor the EV maker have officially commented on the matter.
Musk has been teasing Tesla's India entry for years
The talks of the research center come as Musk's promise of Tesla's entry in India remains unfulfilled. The tech mogul has been teasing the company's India debut for years; in late 2018, he had said Tesla would have a partial presence in the nation by the end of 2019. Then, a few months later, he suggested that they would "definitely" be there in 2020.
Regulatory hurdles likely causing the delay
In recent years, Musk has also suggested that the regulatory environment in India, particularly the import duties on EVs, has been keeping them from launching in the country. "I'm told import duties are extremely high (up to 100%), even for electric cars. This would make our cars unaffordable," he had said in a tweet in August 2019.
Research center could help company make inroads
That said, if the talks with the Karnataka government move forward, the research center in Bengaluru could give Tesla an opportunity to enter the Indian EV market, which is expected to touch Rs. 50,000 crore by 2025, and eventually create an ecosystem for electric cars. Bengaluru is already host to renowned automobile companies like Daimler, Bosch, Mahindra Electric, Ola Electric, Sun Mobility, and Ather.