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Elon Musk meets PM Modi, plans to bring Tesla to India at ‘right time’

Tesla and SpaceX CEO says eager to roll out Starlink satellite internet in India, outlines sustainable energy plans

Elon Musk meets PM Modi, plans to bring Tesla to India at ‘right time’
[Source photo: Chetan Jha/Press Insider]

Tesla and SpaceX chief executive officer Elon Musk commended India’s potential following a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who nudged the billionaire entrepreneur to make “significant investments” in India. Musk took up on the offer and said he intends to do so, but is figuring out the right timing.

In an interaction with the media following his meeting with the prime minister, Musk said that he is “incredibly excited about the future of India”, describing it as a country with “more promise than any large country in the world.”  

During the meeting, Musk said he outlined what he believes to be the three pillars of a sustainable energy future. 

Musk said India’s abundant sunlight makes it an ideal destination for solar energy projects, which would require a mere 1-2% of the land area to generate substantial electricity. He also spoke about the importance of coupling this with stationary battery packs and electric vehicles, asserting that this approach is also a more cost-effective alternative.

He also expressed his eagerness to launch SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service in India, which he believes could prove to be a game-changer in providing affordable and reliable internet access to remote and rural areas, where connectivity is presently sporadic and costly.

He also said that he was a fan of Prime Minister Modi, whom he lauded for his dedication to the welfare of India. 

PM Modi tweeted he had wide-ranging discussions with Musk, including on energy and spirituality: “Great meeting you today @elonmusk! We had multifaceted conversations on issues ranging from energy to spirituality.” 

A government press release said Prime Minister Modi lauded Musk’s endeavors in making technology accessible and affordable across various sectors. 

The prime minister extended an invitation to Musk to explore the plethora of opportunities in India, especially in electric mobility and the rapidly expanding commercial space sector. Musk acknowledged the invitation and said that he is tentatively planning to visit India next year.

Tesla’s foray into India has run into hurdles in the past, with New Delhi telling the automaker to build its vehicles in India. Musk’s company had earlier sought to import its vehicles into the country. 

Indian officials had then reportedly told the company that importing the vehicles would attract the same 110% duty levied on other carmakers.

In May, senior Tesla executives had met top bureaucrats and ministers to explore plans of setting up a manufacturing unit for batteries and cars.

Musk said last month that a new factory could be chosen as early as December and that India is an interesting place for the factory.

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