Indian Prime Minister tours Tesla factory, talks batteries & solar with Elon Musk

28 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Elon Musk hopes to conquer electric car range limits by 2020.

San Jose: Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla Motors campus on Saturday and showed keen interest in some of their path breaking inventions, particularly in the renewable energy sector which can have multiple applications in remote rural areas. Discussions between Tesla CEO Elon Musk and the Prime Minister largely revolved around bringing innovations as the company’s Powerwall, which is a long-term storage device for solar energy, to India. “Tesla CEO Elon Musk and Prime Minister Modi discussed Tesla’s developments in battery technology, energy storage, and renewable energy and the positive implications of this innovation for India,” Tesla spokesman Ricardo Reyes told PTI.

When grilled about driving distances in a Danish interview, Musk revealed that he expects the battery technology to improve at a rate of 5 to 10 percent per year, which could lead to some massive range gains in a relatively short space of time. At this point, however, it appears that the cost of the battery may potentially exceed what is commercially feasible or widely affordable in the Indian context. The CEO notes that people have already driven the Model S up to 500 miles on a charge at slow speeds, and that this could extend to over 600 miles as soon as 2016, and a whopping 746 miles by 2020. While the commercial feasibility of bringing devices such as ‘Powerwall’ to India immediately are ruled out due to its high cost, the general consensus was that once the prices of those batteries start dropping, India will be able to use them more effectively. The PM urged Cook to look at manufacturing in India, especially since apple’s manufacturing partner Foxconn had already set up a manufacturing base in India.

Discussions on adoption of renewable energy technology between Indian representatives and Tesla were preliminary and meant to understand the technologies and products. While it’s doubtful that you’d get these figures blazing down the highway, Treehugger’s back-of-the-napkin math suggests that this should still lead to a realistic range of 382 to 483 miles. The Indian Ambassador to the US Arun Kumar Singh said that the Apple CEO was positive about this, though he appeared more keen on the developing the app ecosystem for iOS out of India thanks to its design base. On Sunday, the PM will visit the Facebook headquarters followed by a visit to the Google Headquarters in Mountain View where Sundar Pichai is expected to announce free WiFi for 500 railway stations in India.

Modi on the revolutionary technologies being developed by Tesla, which is likely to change the face of the motor industry and have wider implications on developing countries like India on renewable energy. He believes that cautious regulators won’t permit self-driving cars on their roads for another 1 to 3 years after that, and some regions will be more welcoming of autonomy than others. You’ll get to keep your current user name (as long as it doesn’t contain invalid characters, in which case you’ll have to go through a few extra steps to make the transfer), and all your old comments will eventually (not immediately) migrate with you.

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