Tesla eyes cost-effective charging in India

Tesla Inc. is reportedly considering a cost-effective approach for its entry-level car targeted at the price-sensitive Indian market. The company is exploring the use of smaller, quick-charging batteries, a strategy similar to what it has implemented in China, with the aim of significantly reducing the vehicle’s price.

According to a report by Mint, the feasibility of these smaller batteries is contingent on the availability of an extensive network of fast chargers. In recent discussions with the Indian government, Tesla executives emphasised the importance of such infrastructure and sought support for the development of chargers and battery production.

Tesla’s objective is to introduce an electric vehicle (EV) priced around $24,000, in contrast to its current base model, the Model 3, which starts at approximately $40,000. The Model 3 comes with a 57.5-kilowatt-hour battery, providing a range of about 435km. The new strategy would focus on smaller batteries that require frequent charging at public stations, similar to refuelling conventional vehicles.

However, India’s existing charging infrastructure, with around 9,300 public chargers compared to over 138,000 in the US, poses a significant challenge. There is an urgent need for a more extensive and faster charging network to facilitate EV adoption in India. Some existing chargers in India can add 180-200km range to a Tata Nexon EV in about an hour; however, Tesla’s existing fast chargers and potential new technologies promise even speedier charging times.

Tesla’s plans for India gained momentum after Elon Musk’s meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in June. The company has expressed willingness to invest up to $2 billion in an Indian factory, contingent on a reduction in the import duty rate for its cars. Ongoing discussions with Indian authorities indicate Tesla’s efforts to navigate the complexities of entering the emerging yet challenging EV market in India.

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