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Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc said on Wednesday it has opened its first charging station in China with its own solar and energy storage facilities. The charging station in Lhasa city will generate power from sunlight and store it in the energy storage facilities for electric vehicles to charge, the company said in a Weibo post. Tesla moved into the solar business in 2016 with its $2.6 billion purchase of California-based SolarCity and has said it is keen to develop its energy business.
The company’s solar services include Solar Roof, a power generating system meant to look like normal roof tiles, and Powerwall, which can store power generated by solar panels. Last year, Tesla, which is making electric vehicles in Shanghai, put out job ads for solar and energy storage project managers in China.
Tesla, the US electric vehicle and world’s most valuable automaker will soon start its India innings. The EV maker recently opened its first showroom cum office space in Mumbai’s Lower Parel-Worli business district. Elon Musk-led brand that has been eyeing the Indian market for a long time now, imported three Model 3 entry-level sedans for homologation and testing purposes. One of these vehicles was recently spotted testing on the Indian roads as per a picture shared by an Instagram account.
The dark blue coloured Tesla Model 3 was spotted wearing a temporary license plate and might be on testing duty by the ARAI. The Model 3 is the most affordable vehicle that Tesla is making and speculations are rife that Tesla might launch the Model 3 as a CBU to test the waters in the domestic market.
However, there’s also a possibility that Tesla might launch the Model Y in India first, given the affinity of Indians for the SUVs and also the price tag. As for the Model 3, it is available in three variants – Standard Range Plus, Long Range and Performance with a range of 423 km, 568 km and 506 km respectively. Given its price point of Rs 40 Lakh (expected), it will be competing against the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XE and the Audi A4.
As for Tesla’s operations in India, while Tesla already registered its office in Bengaluru, the sales operations are expected to start from Mumbai. It’s possible that Bengaluru will be Tesla’s India HQ while Mumbai will become its regional office. After Musk confirmed Tesla’s arrival in India, Karnataka Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa declared in February that the US-based electric vehicle and clean energy company will set up its production unit here.
Just a few weeks ago, the California-based company hired top executives in the country who has taken charge of some of its operations in the country. The company has onboarded IIM Bangalore alumnus Manuj Khurana as Policy and Business Development head for India operations.
The company has hired Nishant as Charging Manager who will head the supercharging, destination charging and home charging business for Tesla India. He was earlier head of Charging Infrastructure and Energy Storage at homegrown electric vehicle company Ather Energy. Tesla India now has a Country HR Leader in Chithra Thomas who earlier worked at Walmart and Reliance Retail.
Breaking his silence after the news broke that Tesla has finally entered India by registering it as a company in Bengaluru, Musk said on January 13 that he is on the way to fulfil his promise to let electric cars run on the roads of India.
(WITH INPUTS FROM REUTERS)