Texas gives Tesla the middle finger; Musk goes to India
The Texas legislature wrapped up its latest session by passing a law bringing back a $2,500 rebate for Texans who purchase a qualifying low- or zero-emissions car. The program began in 2013 as part of the state’s Emissions Reduction Program and applied to electric cars, fuel cell cars, and cars powered by compressed natural gas, but then was cancelled by the legislature in 2015.
By Steve Hanley
There’s just one kicker — the program is administered by franchise car dealers in the Lone Star State. And Tesla doesn’t sell through franchises (they don’t feel the need to add a sales layer that jacks up the price to their customers).
Since Texas law already sticks it to Tesla by prohibiting them from selling cars directly to customers within the state, the rebate will not apply to Tesla.
Luke Metzger, director of Environment Texas, tells Green Car Reports the 2017 legislative session was “a pretty lousy session for the environment. The Legislature further weakened local and citizen rights to fight pollution, a win for the big polluters who fund their campaigns, but a clear loss for public health and the environment.”
Tesla Cozying Up To India
It is common knowledge that Tesla is looking to build more factories and some of them will be built in foreign countries. Elon Musk has said recently his company will be building up to 6 million cars a year soon. The Fremont factory is very near maximum capacity now, with little room for expansion.
India is projected to be the third largest automobile market soon and its government has announced it plans to restrict new car sales to only electric cars by 2030. Since Tesla manufactures only electric cars, the allure of building and selling cars in India is obvious.
But before investing in a new factory, Musk would like to test the waters in India first to see if his products appeal to Indian consumers. And he would like a little help from the government to do that.
In discussions with the government of India requesting temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 14, 2017
“They want to start selling the vehicles to understand the market in India,” Abdul Majeed, partner and national auto practice leader at PricewaterhouseCoopers, tells Quartz. “From a niche play, they want to get into the mass market.”
And why would India relax its import tariffs for one company and not others? Because Tesla’s corporate philosophy aligns perfectly with the goals of the national government and a Tesla factory would add plenty of new jobs for the citizens of the country.
If Elon feels comfortable tweeting that discussions with the government are in progress, it can be assumed they are going well. When it comes to prognosticating about where a future Tesla factory will be built, it is probably safe to put India in the “Highly Likely” category.
(Originally appeared at our sister-site, Gas2.)