Tesla's Potential Rival VinFast To Launch EV Battery Plant In Tamil Nadu

Vietnam’s electric vehicle (EV) maker VinFast is reportedly setting its sights on Tamil Nadu, India, for its first manufacturing facility. This development positions VinFast as a potential rival to Tesla and China’s BYD in the burgeoning Indian EV market.

What to know: According to Reuters, the planned facility in Thoothukudi will focus on producing EV batteries. This decision comes amidst VinFast’s increased activities in India, including recent hiring for sales, legal, and back-office roles. However, details regarding the investment scale and operational timeline in Tamil Nadu remain unclear. VinFast is also exploring the introduction of electric scooters and cars in the Indian market.

In a significant expansion plan revealed last October, VinFast announced its intention to construct assembly factories in India and Indonesia. VinFast anticipates each factory will have an annual production capacity of up to 50,000 cars, with an initial investment of around $200 million (₹1,665 crore), and plans to start production by 2026.

Adding to the momentum, Green SM, an electric taxi service majorly owned by VinFast’s founder, is also planning to establish operations in India, as stated by VinFast CEO Le Thi Thu Thuy.

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Heating competition: Meanwhile, Tesla is nearing the final stages of negotiations to establish its manufacturing plant in Gujarat, India. This move would mark Tesla’s entry into the Indian EV market. Additionally, Taiwanese company Gogoro is ramping up its investments in India, focusing on manufacturing electric two-wheelers and developing a battery-swapping infrastructure.

Recently, Gogoro and Pune-based Belrise Industries dissolved their joint venture, with Belrise opting to proceed solo in establishing a smart energy infrastructure in Maharashtra.

Reflecting the growing interest in EVs, India’s EV registrations have surged, reaching 15.13 lakh units in 2023, up from 10.25 lakh the previous year. Two-wheelers continue to dominate the EV segment, with a 34% year-on-year growth, totalling 8.49 lakh units in 2023. This trend underscores India’s rapidly evolving EV landscape, attracting global players like VinFast to invest and expand in the country.

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