Andhra Pradesh CM Chandrababu Naidu, Telangana CM K Chandrasekhar Rao and Maharashtra counterpart Devendra Fadnavis have sent representatives to Tesla Motors founder Elon Musk in an attempt to convince him about the advantages of setting up manufacturing facilities in their respective states, unconfirmed TV reports stated on Wednesday. The three CMs are reportedly trying to sweeten the deal by offering SEZs and port access along with other sops to one of the world’s leading makers of electric cars.
Indicating that the state is indeed in the race, a senior AP government official told TOI that AP government delegations had visited Tesla Motors’ assembly plant a couple of times over the last one year and held discussions over energy efficiency. He, however, refused to divulge any further details.
On the other hand, top Telangana government officials denied any knowledge of the development.
It was only recently that AP managed to steal the Rs 3,000-crore Apollo Tyres manufacturing plant project right from under the nose of a highly competitive Telangana, despite its last ditch attempts to convince Onkar Kanwar by sending an envoy.
The three states are understood to be vying to house Tesla Motors’ Gigafactory, touted to be one of the largest plants in the world for manufacturing lithium-ion batteries that power the company’s electric cars. In fact, Musk had indicated as much to Prime Minister Narendra Modi after the latter’s visit to Tesla Motors’ facilities in September 2015. Tesla’s first Gigafactory is coming up in Nevada.
Citing Tesla Motors sources, the TV reports said the electric carmaker is expected to get started on the battery plant in 2017 and follow it up with a network of supercharging stations in the second phase and may consider setting up plants to manufacture electric cars in India after that.
Incidentally, while launching Tesla’s most affordable car – Model 3 – in April this year, Musk had indicated that the car will also drive into the Indian market in the next couple of years. The carmaker has already opened the pre-orders of the car for Indian consumers.
In fact, in June this year, Union road transport and highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari too had visited Tesla Motors’ San Francisco factory and invited the company to set up facilities in India through a joint venture with Indian auto players.
Suggesting to Tesla Motors that it consider making India its Asian manufacturing hub, Gadkari had also offered the company access to major Indian ports to export cars to South and East Asian markets.