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Elon Musk prefers visiting Indonesia as top Indian ministers fail to impress him

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, has decided to visit Indonesia in November this year, as he reportedly wraps up Tesla operations in India, despite repeated requests from top ministers and senior politicians to come and manufacture electric cars in the country.

Because the country has vast nickel reserves, the Indonesian government wants Musk to establish a world-class electric battery industry.

Over the weekend, Indonesian President Joko ‘Jokowi’ Widodo met Musk at Starbase, SpaceX’s rocket production facility, test site, and spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas, and invited him to visit Indonesia.

According to the Jakarta Globe, Musk admitted that he is very interested in Indonesia’s future, which he believes has “great potential” for collaboration with Tesla and SpaceX.

“Musk also mentioned Indonesia’s large population and consistent economic growth as factors that make him interested in the most populous country in Southeast Asia, the report said.

Tesla has been adamant about obtaining nickel for its electric vehicle batteries.

Meanwhile, Indian ministers, particularly Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, continue to request that Tesla CEO Elon Musk visit India and manufacture electric vehicles.

Several Indian leaders, including Telangana Minister for Industries KT Rama Rao and Maharashtra Minister and state NCP President Jayant Patil, have repeatedly urged Musk to bring Tesla to India, but to no avail.

Musk previously stated that he faced government obstacles in releasing his products in India.

Currently, India levies a 100% tax on imported cars costing more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh), including insurance and shipping costs, while cars costing less than $40,000 are subject to a 60% tax.

Currently, India levies a 100% import tax on imported cars costing more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh), including insurance and shipping costs, while cars costing less than $40,000 are subject to a 60% import tax.

Tesla Model 3 may remain an affordable model in the US with a $40,000 (over Rs 30 lakh) price tag, but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh.

Meanwhile, Musk’s team in India has been redirected to focus on the Middle East and larger Asia-Pacific markets.

Nishant Prasad, who is in charge of building Tesla’s supercharger network in India, has changed his LinkedIn title to Charging Operations Lead-APAC.

Manoj Khurana, Tesla India’s first hire in charge of public policy and business development, moved to California last month to take on a product role.

About the author

Brendan Byrne

While studying economics, Brendan found himself comfortably falling down the rabbit hole of restaurant work, ultimately opening a consulting business and working as a private wine buyer. On a whim, he moved to China, and in his first week following a triumphant pub quiz victory, he found himself bleeding on the floor based on his arrogance. The same man who put him there offered him a job lecturing for the University of Wales in various sister universities throughout the Middle Kingdom. While primarily lecturing in descriptive and comparative statistics, Brendan simultaneously earned an Msc in Banking and International Finance from the University of Wales-Bangor. He's presently doing something he hates, respecting French people. Well, two, his wife and her mother in the lovely town of Antigua, Guatemala.

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