Elon Musk’s Tesla is delving into a cost-effective approach for its proposed entry-level car, targeting the price-sensitive Indian market. The company is considering the use of fast-charging small batteries, a technology already employed in China, to significantly reduce the vehicle’s cost.
What Happened? According to a report by Mint, these smaller batteries, however, hinge on the availability of a widespread network of fast chargers. During recent discussions with the Indian government, Tesla executives emphasized the need for such infrastructure and sought support for both charger development and battery production.
Tesla aims to bring to market an electric vehicle (EV) priced at around $24,000 (approximately ₹20 lakh), a stark contrast to its current base model, the Model 3, which starts at about $40,000 (₹33 lakh). The Model 3 equips a 57.5-kilowatt-hour battery, offering a range of around 435km. The new strategy would pivot towards smaller batteries, accustomed to frequent charging at public stations, akin to refuelling traditional vehicles.
More roadblocks along the way: It is also worth noting that India’s current charging infrastructure, with only about 9,300 public chargers compared to over 138,000 in the US, poses a significant challenge.
There’s also the necessity for a more expansive and faster charging network for EV adoption in India. While fast charging technology is present, with some chargers capable of adding 180-200km range to a Tata Nexon EV in about an hour, Tesla’s existing fast chargers and potential new technologies promise even quicker charging times.
Tesla’s India plans gained momentum following Musk’s meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June. The company is reportedly prepared to invest up to $2 billion in an Indian factory, contingent upon a reduced import duty rate for its cars. The ongoing discussions with Indian officials continue as Tesla navigates the complexities of entering a burgeoning but challenging EV market.
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