Ashok Leyland, the Chennai-based automobile manufacturer has invited US-based electric car manufacturer Tesla for a partnership to bring the electric vehicles to the Indian market. The senior vice president of Ashok Leyland, Venkatesh Natarajan said that the company is open to Elon Musk’s offer. However, several agencies will be involved in the transactional process if the deal goes on.
Ashok Leyland is owned by the Hinduja Group. The firm reported ₹6,325 crores in revenue in Q3 of FY2018-19. The company aims to invest ₹500 crores into its electric vehicle arm over the next three to five years.
Elon Musk expressed his interest in expanding to the Indian market by next year. And the move by Ashok Leyland can be an after effect of Musk’s interest. Musk tweeted, “would love to be in India this year, in not, then definitely by next!”. Elon has been trying to enter India and capture the interests of Indian customers for a long time now but has not been successful yet.
Earlier in November 2018, Elon Musk hinted that Tesla has plans to establish a partial presence in Asia, South America, and India by the end of 2019 and expand to more countries by 2020. In 2017, Musk tried to export Tesla’s cars to India after reaching out to the Government of India for expansion. However, no further activity has been recorded in the matter till date.
Tesla has been continuous with its effort to be the top in the list of electric vehicle segment. In April this year, Elon Musk announced the plans to launch ‘robotaxis’ as a part of its autonomous ridesharing network by 2020. All the new vehicles produced by Tesla comes packed with a full self-driving computer and hardware.
The electric vehicles adaptation in India is at a nascent stage and the infrastructure including charging stations to support electric vehicles is yet to be developed. Furthermore, the electric vehicles manufactured by Tesla and other companies are built to suit the western roads. The vehicles need customization to run on Indian roads. Also, most of the cities in India are unplanned and therefore it is more difficult to navigate in India than western countries.