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States vie for carmaker: Gujarat offers Tesla 1,000 acres in Mundra

On January 8, the electric vehicle manufacturer set up its India office by registering Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited in Bengaluru.

Written by Avinash Nair | Ahmedabad, Bangalore |
Updated: July 2, 2021 7:08:06 am
On January 8, the electric vehicle manufacturer set up Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited in India, with its registered office in Bengaluru. (AP/File)

TO GET TESLA, the world’s premium electric carmaker, set up its manufacturing unit in their state, Gujarat, Karnataka and Maharashtra are keen to roll out the red carpet. Gujarat is offering an estimated 1,000 hectares in Mundra on the Kutch coast.

A senior government official in Gujarat said, “They are undecided if they should come to a faraway place in Gujarat, or dig deep in Bengaluru. There is little or no social life in Gujarat, while it is not so in Bengaluru. They are trying to negotiate with both Gujarat and Karnataka governments.”

On January 8, the electric vehicle manufacturer set up its India office by registering Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited in Bengaluru.

When contacted, P Anbalagan, Chief Executive Officer, Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation, told The Indian Express, “The government of Maharashtra and Tesla officers had four meetings, and the last one was nearly 7-8 months back. We also offered them land so that they could start production facilities in Maharashtra as there are already several auto companies in the state.”

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Anbalagan said the Tesla officials wanted a big web of charging stations in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region and also near the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust, the port where the cars will land following imports. Tesla has around 27 vendors of which 20 are from Maharashtra, he said.

Since their last interaction in 2020, Maharashtra has not received any correspondence from the company.

On January 12, Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yediyurappa said Tesla would set up a research and development unit in Karnataka but later deleted the tweet. In February, he put out a statement that Tesla would open its electric car manufacturing unit in Karnataka. He mentioned Tesla following the announcement of the creation of an industrial corridor at Tumakuru, around 60 km from Bengaluru, at a cost of Rs 7,725 crore to generate 2.8 lakh jobs.

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“Karnataka will lead India’s journey towards Green Mobility. Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Tesla will soon start its operations in India with an R&D unit in Bengaluru. I welcome Elon Musk to India and Karnataka and wish him all the very best,” Yediyurappa said shortly after Tesla registered itself with the Registrar of Companies with a Bengaluru address.

Gujarat has offered land both inside and outside Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in Mundra. The APSEZ has 8,400 hectare of which half is lying vacant. “We have told them land will not be an issue. However, they are yet to decide whether the new unit in India will be a pure export unit or a mix of both,” the official said. APSEZ operates the largest commercial port and SEZ at Mundra. SEZs are designated duty-free enclaves where the Indian customs law does not apply.

Last month, to help create and sustain an electric vehicle ecosystem in Gujarat, chief minister Vijay Rupani announced the Gujarat Electric Vehicle Policy 2021, that subsidises purchase of electric vehicles and also provides setting up of necessary charging infrastructure.

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According to official sources, the Gujarat government is trying to create an electric vehicle hub in Mundra and, therefore, has also proposed to allocate land for ancillary units that would accompany Tesla. This includes land for an electric vehicle battery manufacturing unit and other component manufacturers.

The company is, however, yet to provide a list of demands and requirements to the state government for setting up the project. “Land in Gujarat is much cheaper compared to Bengaluru, but there is a paucity of trained manpower and in far-flung places such as Mundra, it is difficult to invite Fortune 500 companies,” the official said.

Tesla will not be the first electric vehicle player in Gujarat. Documents submitted by the firm to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) Bengaluru, show that the company will “import, distribute, sell, service, maintain and repair electric vehicles and stationary energy storage systems and equipment, energy generation systems and equipment, including solar panels, solar electrical systems…”

The company, with an authorised capital of Rs 15 lakh, has said it may “carry on the business of manufacture, sale, export, service and promotion of electric vehicles and stationary energy storage systems and equipment…” among others.

(With inputs from YOGESH NAIK in Mumbai and JOHNSON TA in Bengaluru)

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First published on: 02-07-2021 at 02:40:14 am

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