Maharashtra Tourism Minister Aaditya Thackeray on Thursday said he and Industries Minister Subhash Desai held discussions with a Tesla team and invited the electric vehicle company to invest in the state. The meeting came after Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk hinted earlier this month about the company’s possible entry in India.
“This evening I had the opportunity to participate in a video call by Industries Minister Subhash Desai with Tesla team to invite them to Maharashtra,” Thackeray tweeted, tagging Musk and Tesla. “I was present not because of just the investment but my firm belief in electric mobility & sustainability.”
The tourism minister said that the state government was committed to developing policies for sustainable development and that he personally believes that electric mobility assisted by renewable energy was the way forward in this regard. “Let’s hope we can help this thought become mainstream soon,” he added.
On October 2, Musk had replied positively to a tweet asking about the progress on Tesla coming to India. “Next year for sure,” the 49-year-old businessman had replied.
However, this is not the first time Musk has claimed he will soon invest in India. In 2017, he had said he was “hopeful” that Tesla would launch in India. However, he had tweeted later indicating that it would not be possible, according to The Hindu. “Maybe I’m misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply doesn’t yet exist in India to support that,” he said.
In 2018 too, he had said that he wanted to be in India but there were some hurdles. “Would love to be in India,” he replied. “Some challenging government regulations, unfortunately. Deepak Ahuja, our CFO [chief financial officer], is from India. Tesla will be there as soon as he believes we should.”
Again, in 2019, he had claimed Tesla would be in India the same year or “definitely the next”. But Musk had again tweeted later in 2019, saying that import duties in India were “extremely high” even for electric cars. “This would make our cars unaffordable,” he said.