Tesla, the world’s highest valued car manufacturer, is reportedly super close to finally announcing its official arrival in India. A report on the matter by ET Auto has claimed that Tesla may make its official announcement as early as next month, and pre-orders for its cars may also begin by January 2021. Following this, speculations suggest that Tesla may start shipping its cars by as early as June or July 2021, hence raising considerable excitement among auto enthusiasts and electric vehicle advocates in the country.
However, interested parties must proceed with caution before being too excited about the update. Tesla’s mercurial CEO, Elon Musk, had also previously tweeted about his intention to bring Tesla to India earlier, but such plans have not matured so far. The roadblocks to a company like Tesla operating in India can be plenty, at the forefront of which is an electric vehicle charging network, or the lack thereof. Other difficulties include Tesla’s typical business model, as well as India’s import regulations that can push the overall price of completely built units through the roof.
It is not like Musk to bring Tesla to a market that is not fully ready to operate electric vehicles, and hence represents more expenses than profits. India is still at a nascent stage when it comes to electric car charging infrastructure across the country. Tesla, on this note, has its own Supercharger fast charging network that it sets up in a market before selling its cars. Given the vast expanse of roads in India, simply setting up the Supercharger network would cost Tesla quite a bit in terms of both money and time – certainly something that would take more than just six months to establish.
The company also operates its business through its own service and sales centres, and to follow such a model in India, it would have to hire employees extensively in the country. Tesla also operates on a remote, software update-based model for fixing most glitches, and the odd mechanical failure is treated by a slim service centre network – a model that might not work that well in a country as large as India, where major cities are separated by hundreds of kilometres.
All things considered, it remains to be seen if it really enters India by 2021. While there’re a number of difficulties on the way for the company, it will be interesting to see if Tesla manages to revolutionise the Indian car industry as well.