According to a “Times of India” report rolled out early Sunday, it has been revealed that the Indian government has invited Tesla Motors (TSLA) to build factories near major Indian ports to facilitate export of their electric vehicles [EVs] to South and South East Asian countries.
During a visit to a Tesla car manufacturing unit in San Francisco on Friday, India’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari showed his government’s seriousness towards a pollution free road transport in the country by offering to promote joint ventures between the U.S. -based manufacturer of EVs and Indian automobile companies. Gadkari also pushed for cooperation on battery-powered commercial and public vehicles, saying the “Indian government was committed to encourage pollution-free transport by providing incentives to bio-fuel, [compressed natural gas], ethanol and electric cars.”
According a recent study by the World Health Organization, which has examined air quality in 3,000 cities across 103 countries, four out of ten cities in the world with the worst air pollution are in India.
After a Tesla senior executives acknowledged that India will “definitely” be a market for their most affordable car yet, the $35,000 Model-which will take on big name models such as the BMW 3-Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes-Benz C-Class, the Indian transport minister asked the company to outline proposals for entry into the Indian market. Tesla said the offer will certainly be considered at the appropriate time in future.
In Other Tesla News
Following a series of crashes, one of which was fatal, Tesla Motors said it is working on modification to the Autopilot system in its vehicles. CEO Elon Musk, in a Twitter (TWTR) post Thursday night, said the company is working “on changes that would “decouple” the Autopilot’s radar from its cameras and allow the radar to spot objects with fewer data points”.
Also on Thursday, Consumer Reports magazine called on the company not only to deactivate its Autopilot steering technology, which is being scrutinized by two U.S. government agencies, but also overhaul it and rebrand it. The magazine went as far as calling on Tesla to “stop referring to the system as “Autopilot”, as it is misleading and potentially dangerous”.
The automatic steering portion of Autopilot should be deactivated “until it can be reprogrammed to require drivers to keep their hands on the steering wheel,” Consumer Reports said.
It goes without saying, that the report will have large implications not only for Tesla as a company, but also for other automakers, who either have similar self-driving technology in place or are about ready to put it on the road.