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India offers Tesla land for plant

New Delhi, July 16: Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari has offered Tesla land near major Indian ports to encourage the US-based electric car major to make India its Asia manufacturing hub.

Proximity to the ports will facilitate exports to South and South East Asian countries.

Gadkari visited the Tesla factory near San Francisco yesterday and offered to promote joint ventures between the firm and Indian automobile companies to promote pollution-free road transport in India, especially commercial and public motor vehicles, an official statement said today.

Gadkari said the Indian government will offer incentives to bio-fuel, CNG, ethanol and electric vehicles.

Tesla senior executives admitted that their manufacturing hub has to be outside the US to supply to markets worldwide.

"Replying to specific queries from the transport and highways minister regarding manufacturing of electric trucks, buses and two wheelers, the Tesla team said they have future plans for trucks and pick-up vans but not buses and two wheelers," a statement said.

Electric push

India will encourage factories that make electric vehicle components in the country to help make such indigenous cars cheaper.

"The biggest challenge is cost and all of us would have to work on it so that people can afford and easily adopt this new technology. To make it cheaper, we would have to work for make-in-India and (that) is the solution for making electric vehicle affordable," said Girish Shankar, secretary, ministry of heavy industries and public enterprises.

India sold 22,000 units of electric vehicles in the year ended March 31, 2016, up 37 per cent from the previous year.


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