FILE PHOTO: Tesla Supercharger station at a Tesla store in Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S., December 7, 2023.  REUTERS/Paul Lienert/File Photo
India wants to entice foreign EV brands to invest in country Image Credit: Reuters

Mumbai: Tesla Inc. is in early discussions with Reliance Industries Ltd. about a possible joint venture to build an electric-vehicle manufacturing facility in India, Hindu BusinessLine reported.

Reliance's role hasn't been finalized, but Mukesh Ambani's conglomerate is expected to have a significant part in helping Tesla establish the factory and associated operations, the newspaper reported, citing people it didn't identify. Senior Tesla officials are expected to visit India to finalize the plant's location, and the joint venture, in a month, it said.

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Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk said last year that Tesla will make a significant investment in India as the government looks to entice foreign EV brands to set up facilities. The country has been working on an agreement that would see the carmaker make an initial minimum investment of about $2 billion to set up a plant, Bloomberg News reported in November. Tesla would also look to increase purchases of auto parts from the nation to as much as $15 billion.

A spokesperson for Reliance declined to comment on the report when contacted by Bloomberg News. A Tesla representative didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The move is aimed at spurring investment from global firms, which is viewed as key to accelerating India's switch to greener cars. EVs made up just 2.3% of the total number of passenger vehicles sold last year, according to BloombergNEF, with high prices and limited charging infrastructure key hurdles to more widespread adoption.

Musk has looked to break into India for years as the country's growing middle class seeks to spend their increasing wealth on new-energy vehicles. The government last month lowered import duties on EVs for foreign companies provided they invest at least 41.5 billion rupees ($500 million) and start producing vehicles domestically within three years. There's also a cap on the number of EVs an overseas brand can import.