Why India is really interested in Tesla

by | Jul 22, 2016

model3_quarter_mod2-1This week I read reports in the local newspaper about Indian transport minister Nitin Gadkari’s visit to the Tesla plant in the US. The hon’ble minister invited Tesla to come and make in India. We could do with more cars like Tesla on Indian roads — electric powered vehicles will certainly bring down the pollution levels. But I’m not so sure if everyone can afford a Tesla Model-3 (the lowest priced model) which sells for $35,000 (INR 23,49,550). And there would certainly be a long waiting list. Right now I’m imagining a lot of Tesla’s zooming on Indian roads in autopilot mode;  I’m not so sure if autopilot will reduce the number of road accidents in India. Will Tesla cars in India become as common as the local Auto Rickshaw (tuk-tuk)? I suspect that the Indian government is really after something else — like the Solar energy business (SolarCity) —  a sister concern of Tesla. And of course, the batteries that power the Teslas. Then there could also be interests in SpaceX (a partnership with India’s ISRO, perhaps).

Before I delve on the clean energy business, a small deviation, if I may?

I’m half way through Elon Musk ‘s autobiography (Elon Musk: How the Billionaire CEO of SpaceX and Tesla is Shaping our Future). And I lap up every news item about Tesla. I was in Whitefield, Bengaluru two days ago, and I swear I saw a Tesla Model-X (the SUV version)  zooming out of one of those swanky tech parks and disappearing into the dark road ahead. How could I be sure? I saw the Tesla logo on the car and also the unique wheel hubs. Some rich techie going home, I guess.


The shortage of energy continues to be a major problem in India. The Indian Express reports: power minister Piyush Goyal said that all villages would be electrified by the end of 2016. The government  previously set a deadline for this – May 2017.

We have plenty of Sun in India, yet we are not so successful at harnessing it for our energy needs. Perhaps Elon Musk and his SolarCity business could show us the way.

The well-funded SolarCity is revolutionizing the energy industry in the US. It could take up local manufacturing of solar panels through the Made in India initiative.

SolarCity has devised an interesting scheme for electrification of schools — and this could work for schools in the rural districts in India. For every megawatt of solar power SolarCity installs, its GivePower foundation will donate a solar power system and battery to a school without electricity.

More than the Teslas, India could benefit from the clean energy from SolarCity.


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Brian Pereira
Brian Pereira
Brian Pereira is an Indian journalist and editor based in Mumbai. He founded Digital Creed in 2015. A technology buff, former computer instructor, and software developer, Brian has 29 years of journalism experience (since 1994). Brian is the former Editor of CHIP India, InformationWeek India and CISO Mag. He has served India's leading newspaper groups: The Times of India and The Indian Express. Presently, he serves the Information Security Media Group, as Sr. Director, Editorial. You'll find his most current work on CIO Inc. During his career he wrote (and continues to write) 5000+ technology articles. He conducted more than 450 industry interviews. Brian writes on aviation, drones, cybersecurity, tech startups, cloud, data center, AI/ML/Gen AI, IoT, Blockchain etc. He achieved certifications from the EC-Council (Certified Secure Computer User) and from IBM (Basics of Cloud Computing). Apart from those, he has successfully completed many courses on Content Marketing and Business Writing. He recently achieved a Certificate in Cybersecurity (CC) from the international certification body ISC2. Follow Brian on Twitter (@creed_digital) and LinkedIn. Email Brian at: [email protected]
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