Tesla drives into Bengaluru with new company | Bengaluru News – Times of India
It’s not clear what exactly the company will do – R&D, sales or manufacturing.
Founder Elon Musk, the world’s second richest man, had indicated last year that Tesla would start selling its cars in India in 2021. Union road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari had said in December that Tesla will commence sales in India in 2021, and would evaluate assembly or manufacturing based on the market response it receives. The US electric carmaker is known to be doing R&D in association with at least one of the auto engineering companies in Bengaluru.
The registered company has three directors — Vaibhav Taneja, Venkatrangam Sreeram, and David Feinstein. Taneja is chief accounting officer at Tesla. Feinstein is senior director of global trade and new markets (finance) at Tesla. Sreeram’s status is not clear. He had co-founded ClearQuote, an app that assesses damages on vehicles instantly based on smartphone images or videos.
Tesla India Motors and Energy has an authorised capital of Rs 15 lakh and has its registered office on Lavelle Road in Bengaluru.
‘ Tesla entry a phenomenal development for India’
Karnataka chief minister BS Yediyurappa tweeted on Tuesday that Tesla would soon start operations in India with an R&D unit in Bengaluru, but deleted it shortly after. It is not clear why he deleted it.
Karnataka industries minister Jagadish Shettar told TOI on Tuesday: “While the firm has now registered, there is still no clarity what they would do here. This is the first step, and our officials led by the principal secretary are in constant dialogue with the firm. The government is prepared to extend support to the firm.”
Gaurav Gupta, principal secretary in the Karnataka industries department, described Tesla’s entry as a phenomenal development for India. “We are proud of it. It provides a big impetus to Bengaluru’s inherent advantages as the tech capital. Whether it will lead to assembly, research centre or manufacturing, it’s left to the company to decide the next course. It’s good for all the stakeholders,” he said.
Tesla’s market capitalisation has gone up more than 750% in the past year, valuing the electric vehicle maker at about $800 billion, miles ahead of the other auto behemoths like GE, Toyota and Ford. While Tesla’s cars will be outside the reach of most in India due to the high price coupled with heavy import duty, the company’s presence has the potential to accelerate the drive towards electric mobility.
Chetan Maini, co-founder and vice-chairman of Sun Mobility, which is building a business in electric battery swapping, said the move shows that global companies are seeing potential in India. “About 85% of vehicle sales in India are either 2-wheeler, 3-wheeler or buses. The remaining is cars. At the price point where Tesla comes in, their share will be less than 1%. But the presence impacts the ecosystem, it changes the perception of electric vehicles and if the company exports components, it helps the industry,” he said.
India in general and Bengaluru in particular is becoming a big hub of automotive engineering, with centres of Daimler, Bosch, Continental, Fiat Chrysler and others. Automotive is one of the fastest growing areas in the $31-billion Indian engineering R&D space, according to a report by Nasscom and Everest Group.