Tesla and Musk visit to China leaves India shocked: ‘Shoddy ethics or simply business?’

MINISTÉRIO DAS COMUNICAÇÕES, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Tesla and CEO Elon Musk’s visit to China last weekend has left people in India “shocked. Musk postponed the visit to India after he said “very heavy Tesla obligations” left him no time to make what was expected to be a firm commitment to the country.

It appears the obligation may have been for Tesla to come to terms with Chinese government officials on the rollout of the company’s Full Self-Driving suite.

However, media outlets in India are confused by the visit to China. Some news stations even ran segments called “Hello China, Goodbye India?” according to a report from Reuters.

Others are asking the question of whether Tesla’s move to meet with Chinese government officials instead of India to discuss a potential Gigafactory was “Shoddy ethics or simply business.”

Tesla has been working with India for the better part of a decade to come to terms on a Gigafactory, and it appeared an announcement would be imminent at one point.

However, Musk postponed the late April meeting, citing “heavy Tesla obligations,” but did not go into further detail regarding what was more important. There have been a lot of new developments in the Tesla space recently, as everything from widespread company layoffs to an adjustment in the automaker’s plans for its next-generation lineup of vehicles has been discussed.

Nobody saw Musk visiting China and coming to an agreement with government officials on a tentative rollout of the Full Self-Driving suite. It is entirely possible that this was the bigger Tesla obligation, as a rollout of Full Self-Driving in foreign countries could be looked at as a bigger priority than another factory, especially in today’s economic conditions.

Tesla is also struggling to keep demand up for its vehicles, just as every other EV maker is. It said in its Q1 2024 Shareholder Deck that more companies were shifting their attention toward hybrid electric vehicles, as consumers seem to want the advantages of both ICE and EV in one car.

Now, Indian political opponents of current Prime Minister Narendra Modi are using Musk’s postponed visit as fuel due to shaky geopolitical tensions between China and India.

“Such is the lack of faith in the Modi govt’s regulatory policies, that big businesses are turning to China over India repeatedly,” Shama Mohamed, the national spokesperson of the opposition Congress party said.

Tesla has not yet rescheduled Musk’s visit to India.

I’d love to hear from you! If you have any comments, concerns, or questions, please email me at joey@teslarati.com. You can also reach me on Twitter @KlenderJoey, or if you have news tips, you can email us at tips@teslarati.com.

Joey Klender: Joey has been a journalist covering electric mobility at TESLARATI since August 2019. In his time at TESLARATI, Joey has broken several big stories, including the first images of the Tesla Model S Plaid, the imminent release of the 4680 Model Y through EPA certification, and several expansions to the Lucid AMP-1 factory in Arizona, to name a few. His stories have been featured in several publications, including Yahoo! Finance, Fox News, CNET, and Seeking Alpha. In his spare time, Joey is playing golf, watching MMA, or cheering on any of his favorite sports teams, including the Baltimore Ravens and Orioles, Miami Heat, Washington Capitals, and Penn State Nittany Lions. You can get in touch with joey at joey@teslarati.com. He is also on Twitter @KlenderJoey.
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