‘Tesla Not Open­ing Base at JNPT SEZ’

Gad­kari, who had in­vited co to come to In­dia, rules out in­vest­ment in SEZ

The Economic Times - - Brands: Creating Desire - Press Trust of In­dia

Mum­bai: Iconic elec­tric car maker Tesla is un­likely to open its base at the pro­posed JNPT SEZ, Union trans­port min­is­ter Nitin Gad­kari has in­di­cated.

Speak­ing at an event here, he said: “My depart­ment is con­cen­trat­ing on al­ter­nate fu­els, par­tic­u­larly on elec­tric­ity” and the work is also be­ing car­ried out on ethanol, methanol, biodiesel and CNG. When asked if the Elon Muskpro­moted, US-based Tesla is com­ing to the pro­posed SEZ at JNPT which is the coun­try’s largest con­tainer port, Gad­kari replied in the neg­a­tive.

“No,” he said, with­out elab­o­rat­ing fur­ther.

Ac­cord­ing to re­ports, JNPT, which is build­ing a Spe­cial Eco­nomic Zone in a 277-hectare plot, was pitch­ing to get Tesla to open a man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity at the pro­posed site.

Gad­kari had vis­ited Tesla head­quar­ters in San Fran­cisco last year and had in­vited the iconic auto and bat­tery-maker to set up a fa­cil­ity in the coun­try and of­fered land ad­join­ing any port.

The visit by the road trans­port, ship­ping and ports min­is­ter in the se­cond half of 2016 had come al­most a year after Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi had vis­ited the fa­cil­i­ties of Tesla known for its Model 3 elec­tric cars for which the com­pany has net­ted over 1 mil­lion prelaunch book­ings.

Tesla has done ad­vance­ments on power stor­age front which has also led it to launch some of the most sought after elec­tric cars. There is also an on­go­ing in­ter­est as to when the com­pany launches its prod­ucts in the coun­try. Nearly a month after point­ing out to the im­ped­i­ments posed by gov­ern­ment’s ‘Make in In­dia’ push which man­dates to have 30% lo­cal sourc­ing, Elon Musk had in June said that he was in dis­cus­sions with the gov­ern­ment “re­quest­ing tem­po­rary re­lief on im­port penal­ties/re­stric­tions un­til a lo­cal fac­tory is built”. On the gov­ern­ment re­solve to in­crease elec­tric ve­hi­cles, Gad­kari said the coun­try will have elec­tric cars, buses and bikes “over the next six months” and his con­stituency Nag­pur al­ready has 200 elec­tric taxis ply­ing.

Nitin Gad­kari

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