Home India Elon Musk Visit Scrubbed But He Has Plans For India

Elon Musk Visit Scrubbed But He Has Plans For India

The much-hyped visit of Tesla’s Elon Musk will not happen. It’s been put off to later, presumably because of elections in India although a Musk post on X referred to “very heavy Tesla obligations”.

In this interview with auto journalist Kushan Mitra recorded before Musk’s cancellation, Mitra argues that Tesla is the top gun in the EV market, but Musk is looking elsewhere as competition in China intensifies. In Europe and the US it’s a different story with people giving up electric vehicles since they find the charging infra not sufficient.

India is the third largest automobile market in the world today, Mitra notes. “We sold over four million vehicles in the last financial year and are expected to hit six million vehicles by 2030. So we are not a small market and even if Tesla could be considered slightly premium by Indian standards, it is important to be here because Musk has some very high ambitions for Tesla.”

Musk wants to sell 20 million cars by 2030 and for that reason, has to be in India. The catch is, he is no longer ahead in the tech race. Mitra says Chinese firms like BYD and CIC have done very well, creating some very innovative technologies including sodium ion batteries.

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India has advantages here since EV cars are not just about batteries, they also have software code driving them. Whether it is Mercedes, BMW or Audi, they depend on software written by Indian engineers.

Looking ahead, Mitra believes Indian electric two-wheeler makers are doing a fantastic job. Ather, Ola, Bajaj may not be selling as many e-bikes and scooters as the Chinese are but you will see them in every part of the world and especially in Africa. So electric two and three-wheelers for last mile delivery will be ubiquitous in India and one can expect matching export sales.

Electric cars in India may take more time because the preference today is for hybrids. That may change as the range of electric cars increases and the charging infra improves.