Tesla in talks with Reliance to set up EV manufacturing arm in India

Tesla may be scouting for a local partner to set up its operations in India. Highly placed sources say the US electric vehicles major is in talks with Reliance Industries for a possible joint venture to build the manufacturing facility in the country.

Tesla may be scouting for a local partner to set up its operations in India. Highly placed sources say the US electric vehicles major is in talks with Reliance Industries for a possible joint venture to build the manufacturing facility in the country.

Also read:Tesla electric vehicles entry into India will be “natural progression”, says Elon Musk“Talks are at initial stages and have been ongoing for over a month,” said a person aware of the development. The source said the move shouldn’t be construed as RIL’s entry into the automobile space. RIL’s objective in the joint venture is to build capacities for electric vehicles in India.

“While the role of RIL hasn’t been crystalised yet, 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,” said another highly placed source with knowledge of the matter. In 2023, RIL, in partnership with Ashok Leyland, launched India’s first hydrogen internal combustion engine-powered heavy-duty truck. RIL also unveiled removable and swappable batteries for EVs last year. 

Poll: Where should Elon Musk’s Tesla set up its unit in India?Email sent to Reliance Industries and Tesla remained unanswered till press time.

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Tesla electric vehicles entry into India will be "natural progression", says Elon Musk

Tesla’s entryTesla is said to have committed $2 billion to its upcoming plans in India. The company has been looking at multiple locations, including Gujarat and Maharashtra, for setting up the plant. Sources said that Maharashtra could emerge as the preferred location. “Tesla plans to use the facility for domestic and export purposes, and hence, it may prefer a location suitable for port facilities,” said a source quoted above.

In a X (formerly Twitter) Spaces session with Nicolai Tangen, CEO, Norges Bank Investment Management, Elon Musk, CEO, Tesla said: “India is now the most populous country in the world, based on population. India should have electric cars just like every other country has electric cars. It’s a natural progression to provide Tesla electric vehicles in India,” thereby confirming Tesla’s entry into India.

Looking for partnerSenior officials of Tesla are expected to visit the country to finalise the plant location in a month or so and crystallise on the joint venture with RIL. Sources add that since the JV talks with RIL aren’t exclusive, Tesla may scout for another domestic partner if ongoing talks don’t fructify.

Also read:Musk says Tesla will unveil Robotaxi on August 8; Shares jumpIn March, the government approved the new electric vehicles scheme along with certain tax reliefs. The policy aims to position India as a global manufacturing hub for electric vehicles.                     

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