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Musk Ditched India For 100% Driverless Car Deal With China: Report

Elon Musk cancelled a trip to India for a major opportunity in China, securing a deal for full self-driving technology. Initially, Musk planned to scout for Tesla's $3 billion Gigafactory in India, building interest since 2019.

By Rashaad Ather
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Indian PM Narendra Modi & Tesla Boss Elon Musk

Indian PM Narendra Modi & Tesla Boss Elon Musk

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Elon Musk reportedly cancelled a trip to India in favour of a major opportunity in China per the Financial Times report.

His team advised him to travel to Beijing, where he reportedly secured a deal to bring full self-driving technology, level 5 driving, or 100% autonomous driving to China.

Elon Musk visited India to scout for a location for Tesla's new $3 billion electric vehicle Gigafactory but cancelled the trip 10 days later. He instead visited Beijing to meet with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

Musk’s interest in India started building in 2019 when Tesla's global head of policy and business development Rohan Patel led talks with Indian officials regarding the possibility of Tesla cars in India. Patel has also previously served as a former energy adviser to President Barack Obama.

By 2022, Musk became more interested in the potential for manufacturing EVs in India. The talks gained momentum after India offered lower tariffs on higher-priced imported EVs for companies manufacturing them domestically within three years. 

The scheme will require companies to invest in India in return for reduced duties. 

Indian officials still await Musk’s response. However, the Tesla boss has not made any further inquiries.

Is Tesla Facing Capital Issues?

The Indian government believes Tesla is experiencing capital issues. 

However, the Financial Times report reveals that Musk still wants to bring operations to India as part of his long-term goals. 

Musk's love for India's potential as a market and a hub for manufacturing cars for export had never diminished, per the FT report.

Social Media Reaction:

There's a mixed response from social media users regarding the new FT report.

One user wrote, "No one was really waiting for Tesla in India.

@elonmusk can play with pooh"

Another user commented," India is nothing for Tesla. If they want to buy they import like how BJP get free hindu votes without doing anything for Hindus. India is not invincible bcoz of its #UPSCMafia. He'd comeback at anytime and we'd give him red carpet welcome. India need him. That's the point." 

A third user wrote, "It won't. We don't figure anyway in the global EV market. Global EV sales 10 million; Indian EV sales less than 100,000. And we cannot export EVs at competitive prices. So why Tesla come to India?"