Tesla chief Elon Musk said on Tuesday India was “absolutely” under consideration for the location of the electric vehicle (EV) maker’s new factory.
Musk’s remark came after the US automaker held talks with Indian officials last week on various issues including incentives for car and battery manufacturing.
Tesla would probably pick a location for a new factory by the end of this year, Musk said.
During meetings in India, Tesla proposed setting up a factory to build EVs and manufacturing EV batteries.
The talks represents a shift in stance for Tesla, which said late last year it was focused on seeking lower import taxes on cars, which can be as much as 100% in India.
Talks with the Narendra Modi-government became deadlocked as India is keen for Tesla to make cars locally. Meanwhile, the carmaker said it wanted to export to the country first so that it could test demand.
In an interview last week, however, India’s deputy minister for technology said Tesla is “serious” about its plans to establish a manufacturing base in India.
“They are very seriously looking at India as a production and innovation base,” Rajeev Chandrasekhar, one of the highest-ranking officials in the Modi Administration said.
Asked if talks with Tesla included more than just making vehicles, Chandrasekhar said “you don’t talk about cars alone” when such discussions take place.
“You talk about cars, you talk about energy, you talk about manufacturing technology. So all of that figures in the conversation. What they will want to do in India, it’s too far for me (to tell) and it’s not for me to say,” he added.
- Reuters, with additional editing by Vishakha Saxena