Last week, Tesla CEO Elon Musk made a rather interesting announcement for all-electric vehicle enthusiasts in India, when he mentioned that Tesla is planning on entering the Indian automobile market in 2021. The announcement comes after years of waiting for the Indians to get their hands on a Tesla, and it definitely has got the public buzzing with excitement. Now, Musk has also stated that Tesla will be coming up with a Booking Order Configurator for the Indian customers which will be going live in January 2021.
Tesla To Release Order Configurator For India In January 2021
The order configurator, which will go live on Tesla’s official website, will give current customers a chance to configure their order. This will help the people who have already bought Tesla cars and are having them imported but have not received delivery yet. Such people can now go forward and tweak their orders, personalize their cars, and get any accessories if required.
Will release order configurator probably in Jan
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 12, 2020
The announcement came in the form of a reply from Musk to the Tesla India Club, who had posted a question, asking the Tesla CEO if there is a team working on their entry to India. In reply, Musk said, “(We) will release the order configurator in January probably”.
As of now, there are no confirmed reports about which models Tesla will be looking to launch in India. The Model 3 and Model Y could be the first guesses, considering that Tesla has been focusing on these two models for the last couple of years now. In addition to that, India is a very good market for SUVs, which makes the Model Y an interesting prospect to start with. This is, of course, just speculation, but the news of a booking order configurator going live is a good step for Tesla. It will give the prospective customers an idea of which models will be on sale initially, and it also will give an idea about the strategy that Tesla will be adopting for the Indian market.
Tesla is also looking to start a research facility in Bengaluru, Karnataka, which is currently the electric vehicle hub of the country. The State authorities of Karnataka have been in touch with Tesla, and while there are no confirmations yet, we could very well see this research facility going up sooner than later. The primary reason behind this is that Bengaluru is India’s R&D hub in many fields such as aviation, IT, and biotechnology, with many multinational companies such as Apple, Google, Microsoft and Amazon having their R&D headquarters in this city. There are also a number of electric vehicle start-ups here, like Ola Electric, Sun Mobility, and Ather. The state of Karnataka is the first state to have an electric vehicle policy, and so, it seems correct that Tesla would want a research facility in this city. If this does happen, India will become just the second country after China to have a research facility outside of the US.
The imminent release of the order configurator means that Tesla has a sales team working on building custom sales and production orders for the Indian market, and also ensuring that the orders are complete and validated after the configuration is finished. This move will open India to be selected as a country where Tesla cars can be purchased on the official website of the Californian automaker.
One of the biggest hurdles of bringing Tesla cars to India is the government policies, especially Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make In India” scheme. With high import duty on electric vehicles or even their components, it will be tough to keep the prices down on the sale of Tesla vehicles in the country. Tesla has two options, either to import the cars directly from a different facility (Shanghai Gigafactory is the closest one) or to build a plant in India itself. While the first option seems next to impossible considering the recent Indo-China conflict, the second one does push PM Modi’s domestic manufacturing dream forward. Currently, it is easy to assume which path will be easier for Tesla to enter India, but whether they pick that one is hard to say.
Apart from the manufacturing and assembly headache, another thing Tesla needs to consider is the charging station network. It is quite obvious that for any EV company to actually make sales, they need to assure their customers that there will be a properly spread out charging station network available for them. While many of the European countries had a basic charging structure ready for Tesla to hop on, the same isn’t true for India.
Manufacturing and charging are two areas that will be troubling Tesla for now, but considering that they are looking to release the order configurator, it is safe to assume that they have a plan in place. And until Musk lets us know through another of his tweets, we have to just wait and watch.