“We all accept that the future is electric; it is now time to embrace electrification as an opportunity to create a self-reliant and cleaner India.” — a report by Avendus, an Indian financial services firm, in July 2020.
Tesla is in talks with the industry department of the Karnataka state government to set up a research and development (R&D) centre in Bengaluru to harness the potential of India’s tech capital. “The first proposal is for an R&D centre and we have already had at least two rounds of discussions,” said one official from the department, requesting not to be named. He also said that Tesla’s head of India and the Karnataka State Commissioner for Industry would meet again later this month. Karnataka is noted as the first state in India to establish an electric vehicle policy, and that effort is geared towards raising significant investment in zero-emissions technology. Eleven other states in the country have since followed suit. The report also estimated that over 3 million EVs will be sold nationwide by 2025.
Tesla started not with a product but with research & development. They first outlined what an EV environment ideally ought to be, planned for that environment, and then developed a product for that environment. They realised that an EV cannot be made or run like a conventional fossil-fuelled car. Tesla was planned, designed, and developed as an EV maker from the get go.
Unlike other car companies, Tesla is strongly & vertically integrated with near complete control over its supply chain; this integration involves collecting mapping data and driving habit data. Currently, this data is used to improve Tesla vehicles, but in the future it can be used to map and improve traffic patterns, electrical usage, road signage, civic planning, road safety, etc. Tesla has ushered in a new ecosystem instead of a product by investing heavily in charging infrastructure, which increases the vehicles’ practicality by a huge margin. They have the most sophisticated navigation system in the world built in to make it easy to plan long trips using their Tesla Supercharger network (map showing Tesla Superchargers in North America attached below; red is where they already exist; blue where they are being planned).
The battery pack is the most important component of an EV. This component troubles most manufacturers and is also the one that costs and weighs the most. Tesla has invested heavily in battery production and research to the extent that it has become the major battery source of the world. The Tesla battery pack is regarded as the industry standard. In Tesla cars, the battery pack is an integral part of the car’s chassis design and structure. The confidence in their battery pack allows them to offer an 8-year unconditional warranty on the entire drivetrain!
Let’s hope that the deal goes through and becomes a reality!