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10 Apr, 2024 09:03

Tesla could partner with India’s largest conglomerate for market entry – media

Elon Musk’s EV giant is considering a joint venture with Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance to set up local manufacturing
Tesla could partner with India’s largest conglomerate for market entry – media

Elon Musk’s Tesla is in talks with Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries, owned by Asia’s richest man, Mukesh Ambani, for its widely anticipated electric vehicle (EV) venture in the country, the Hindu Business Line reported on Wednesday.

Discussions are centered on a “possible joint venture,” the newspaper said, citing sources. Talks have been ongoing for over a month and Tesla is said to be investing up to $3 billion in the country, according to various reports.

The automobile sector is one of the few in India where Reliance, which is the country’s largest conglomerate, does not yet have a presence. The Indian EV market is currently dominated by Tata Motors (72% share), followed by MG Motor, a joint venture between India’s JSW Group and Chinese automotive manufacturer SAIC Motor (10.8%), and Mahindra (9%). Last year, however, Reliance unveiled removable and swappable batteries for EVs that can also be used to power household appliances.

The firm’s objective in the venture with Tesla would be to “build capacities for electricity vehicles for India,” rather than electric cars, the report noted. “It is expected that the Indian conglomerate may play a significant hand in establishing the manufacturing facility and the allied ecosystem for Tesla in India,” another source informed Business Line.

The report comes days after the Financial Times suggested that a Tesla team is scheduled to visit India later this month to scout locations for a proposed plant.

According to the newspaper, states with existing automotive hubs, including Maharashtra, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu, are being prioritized, while Musk is believed to be keen on regions with ports.

Tesla’s entry into India comes in the wake of a new government policy favoring foreign car makers amid plans to expand the EV ecosystem. India will now allow import duty concessions to companies that set up a manufacturing unit with a minimum investment of $500 million. Before the policy, imported cars valued at over $40,000 incurred a 100% customs tax, while those under $40,000 faced a 70% import duty.

“India should have electric cars just like every other country has electric cars,” Musk recently said during an X Spaces session. “It’s a natural progression to provide Tesla electric vehicles in India.” Previously, he had complained about the tariffs in the country, claiming they were some of the highest in the world. During a visit to the US last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi encouraged Musk to invest in his country.

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