By Anshul Rana
San Francisco (California), July 16 (ANI
): Union Minister of Road Transport
, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari
visited the Tesla factory near here on Friday and offered to promote joint ventures between the global leaders in electric car manufacturing and the Indian automobile companies with a view to introducing pollution free road transport in India, especially commercial and public motor vehicles.
Gadkari said the NDA government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was committed to encouraging alternate pollution free transport in the country by providing incentives to bio-fuel, CNG, Ethanol and electric vehicles.
He proposed to the Tesla senior executives to make India their Asia manufacturing hub and offered land near major Indian ports to facilitate export of their vehicles to South and South East Asian countries.
Senior executives at Tesla admitted that their manufacturing hub has to be outside the United States to tap markets in the rest of the world and appreciated the Indian offer of cooperation, which they said will certainly be considered at the appropriate time in the future. They said India will definitely be a market for their next generation low cost sustainable model-3
Replying to specific queries from Gadkari regarding manufacturing of electric trucks, buses and two wheelers, the Tesla team said they have future plans for trucks and pick up vans, but not for buses and two wheelers. They evinced keen interest in knowing whether there was any subsidy on electric vehicles in India. Gadkari asked Tesla executives to outline their proposals for entry into the Indian market.
Gadkari was informed that 400,000 advance bookings have been done for Tesla's model X. There were some bookings from India as well, but they refused to disclose the number.
Gadkari apprised Tesla executives of the progress Indian automobile manufacturers have made in the field of electric vehicles and exuded confidence that very soon the Indian market will become very competitive in this sector.
The minister and accompanying senior officials took a round of the sprawling Tesla manufacturing unis and saw the cutting edge robotic auto assembly plant.
Gadkari inquired about the battery packs that can store energy from the power grid and from solar panels.
He was told that Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to Tesla, too was keen to know how batteries and solar panels could be the future of electricity generation for India, particularly in rural areas. Gadkari was told that Tesla was inviting suggestions for locations in India for demonstrations. (ANI