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Tesla may set up Gigafactory in India: Elon Musk

According to reports, Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla says the firm may set up a Gigafactory in India to make lithium-ion batteries to meet high local demand for solving India’s rural power woes.

“Given high local demand, a Gigafactory in India would probably make sense in the long term,” Musk tweeted Monday.

The plan, if it goes through, would give a boost to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s push to get Tesla to share battery technology to power India’s rural homes. During his recent visit to the Tesla campus in Silicon Valley last month, Modi and Musk had discussed the potential of setting up a battery making facility and other renewable energy technologies to address India’s rural power woes.

Modi has set an ambitious target of 100 GigaWatt of solar power generation in India by 2022. As on October 22, however, India has commissioned solar power plants with a meagre total capacity of 4.57 GW.

India has the potential to generate 759 GW in solar power, according to a study by Deloitte and Confederation of Indian Industry in August.

Tesla, Musk’s electric vehicle venture, already manufactures a power storage device called a PowerWall, but its prohibitive cost and relatively low production capabilities will likely keep the invention from coming to India any time soon.

Nonetheless, with India pushing renewable energy technologies such as solar, it will become imperative to supplement such power generation with low-cost and efficient power storage.

The Gigafactory – that will produce more batteries in one single place than the world’s total production in 2015 is currently being built in Nevada in the US. The lithium-ion batteries that will be produced there will power Tesla cars and PowerWalls that will be sold across the world.

On Tesla cars, Musk said that, “Auto import duties are prohibitively high. Hoping for a special category for EVs. Most of our discussion (with Modi) was on batteries.”


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