PM Narendra Modi at the headquarters of Tesla Motors
PM Narendra Modi with Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla

Tesla Motors is not a familiar name when it comes to American automobile manufacturers in India. The list on our mind tops with Chevrolet and Ford. However, it was quite a surprise when Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a visit to the headquarters of Tesla Motors at Pao Alto on Saturday. The visit also raises the question why he chose to visit Tesla.

Tesla Motors is an American automotive and energy storage company that designs, manufactures and sells electric cars, electric vehicle powertrain components and battery products.

Tesla Motors was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers in Silicon Valley who wanted to prove that electric cars could be better than petrol or diesel powered cars.

Tesla's engineers first designed a powertrain for a sports car built around an AC induction motor, patented in 1888 by Nikola Tesla, the inventor of the company. The resulting Tesla roadster was launched in 2008. The roadster runs from 0-100kmph in 3.7 seconds (electric cars have instant torque) and achieves a range of 394km per charge of its lithium ion battery.

The company carved its niche in the industry in 2012, when Model S was launched as the world's first premium electric four-door sedan. The car is built from the ground up to be 100 percent electric.

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model STesla Motors

Tesla has sold more than 50,000 vehicles in over 30 countries. It is currently preparing to launch Model X, a crossover vehicle featuring increased acceleration, gull wing doors and option of three rows of seating.

The visit of prime minister comes when the Indian government has renewable and alternative sources of energy high on its priority list. The Union government has launched FAME scheme in April 2015, offering incentives on electric and hybrid vehicles of up to Rs 29,000 for bikes and Rs 1.38 lakh for cars to promote eco-friendly vehicles.

FAME India--Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles in India--is a part of the National Electric Mobility Mission Plan which will be implemented over a six-year period till 2020 and will sell 6-7 million hybrids and EVs annually.

The visit to Tesla also needs to be seen in light of strengthening the FAME scheme. The discussion of PM with the company's chief executive Elon Musk might also prompt Tesla Motors make an entry to India in the long run.

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