Bengaluru is home to Tesla’s first India office

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A file picture of India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Tesla plan in California, with Elon Musk.

The American electric vehicle manufacturer has been in dialogue with the Indian government, which hopes Elon Musk’s company will assemble and manufacture its products in India.

True to earlier, tentative talk, Tesla has finally opened its account in India.

The Cupertino, Calif.-headquartered electric vehicle (EV) maker named Vaibhav Taneja, Venkatrangan Sreeram, and David Jon Feinstein as the three directors in its new India entity, which will be located on Lavelle Road in central Bengaluru. Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited, as the entity is called, is registered in that city as well.

The company has not disclosed what function its first office will perform. Recently, however, BS Yediyurappa, the chief minister of the southern state of Karnataka, had tweeted that Tesla would open a research and development (R&D) center in the state’s capital, Bengaluru. The state’s commerce and industries department said it was “happy news,” given Bengaluru’s preeminence as the technology capital of India, and more lately, an automobile hub, with such global giants as Toyota, Daimler, Bosch, Continental, Fiat, Chrysler setting up shop in the city.

Although electric and other green forms of mobility have been discussed ad nauseum in India, India lags China and many other countries in its implementation. Smart cities have set time-bound goals. Mahindra, Hero, and Hyundai have been making inroads with their EV models. The latest entrant, Ola, which runs app cabs in India, has set up two-wheeler EV plant. Two-wheelers are the most popular form of personal transport in urban India.

The challenge for Tesla will be twofold: the fact that India is price-sensitive with domestic EVs in operation already, and that the charging infrastructure in the country is woefully inadequate. As we had reported, the central government announced in late December that Tesla planned to enter India early this year. However, at that time, the minister had said Tesla would start sales operations and eventually consider assembling and manufacturing.

Elon Musk, the famed CEO of Tesla, became the richest man in the world only a few days ago this week, but yesterday, Tesla stocks fell and wiped out $13.5 billion.

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