Tesla scouts for showroom space in India – Sources

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Tesla Inc is scouting for locations to open showrooms in three Indian cities and has hired an executive to lead its lobbying and business efforts ahead of its planned entry into the country, sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters.

The electric-car maker in January registered a local company in India, where it is expected to import and sell the Model 3 sedan by as early as mid-2021, seeking to target rich customers in a niche market.

The world’s most valuable automaker by market capitalisation is looking for commercial properties as large as 20,000-30,000 square feet each to open showrooms and service centres in the capital New Delhi, financial hub Mumbai in the west and tech city Bengaluru in the south, three sources said.

Separately, Tesla has recruited Manuj Khurana, a former executive of India’s investment promotion body Invest India, in the first major hire to lead its policy and business development efforts in the country, two other sources said.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment, while Khurana declined to comment.

In October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter the company will enter India in 2021 “for sure”, though the billionaire had issued similar tweets in the past.

The search for showroom space and Khurana’s appointment signal Tesla is moving faster.

Global property consultant CBRE Group Inc – hired for the showroom searches by Tesla – has been surveying places for several weeks and is focussing on locations which will give the company easier access to affluent customers, sources said.

Some luxury car showrooms in upmarket areas of metro cities are typically between 8,000-10,000 square feet, but most showrooms are far smaller in India where high-end real estate space is usually in short supply and property prices in New Delhi and Mumbai are among the highest in the world.

“If you look at Tesla’s showrooms globally, they are like experience centres. It would look at replicating that with some modifications for the Indian market,” said one of the sources, all of whom declined to be identified as the talks are private.

CBRE said it does not comment “on work we may be doing on behalf of our clients”.

Khurana has previously been on a government panel on the future of transportation led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s top scientific adviser. In his new role, he is also handling Tesla’s market-entry process in India, two sources said.

But India isn’t likely to be an easy market to crack for Tesla.

The country has negligible charging infrastructure and high taxes on imported cars, as well as low adoption of electric vehicles (EVs).

India recorded just 5,000 EV sales out of the total 2.4 million cars sold last year, while in China new energy vehicle sales touched 1.25 million.

However, analysts say India’s rising number of affluent consumers makes it a market the automaker can’t ignore as the government increases its focus on promoting clean cars.

While Tesla plans to import cars at first, India’s road minister told Reuters last month that the government is ready to offer incentives to ensure the carmaker’s production cost would be less than in China if it commits to local manufacturing.

Tesla: Cameras in cars not activated outside North America – Weibo post

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc said on Wednesday that cameras inside its cars are not activated outside of North America, in a statement published on its Chinese social media page.

Tesla faces scrutiny in China where the military in March banned Tesla cars from entering its complexes, citing security concerns over cameras in its vehicles, sources told Reuters.

“Even in the United States, car owners can freely choose whether to turn on its use. Tesla is equipped with a network security system with world-leading security levels to ensure user privacy protection,” the company wrote on Weibo, China’s Twitter-like social media site.

Tesla shares surge after electric carmaker posts record deliveries

(Reuters) – Shares of Tesla Inc were up about 7.5% in pre-market trading on Monday, after the world’s most valuable carmaker posted record deliveries as a solid demand for its electric cars offset the impact of a global shortage of auto parts.

Tesla delivered 184,800 vehicles globally during the first quarter, above estimates of 177,822 vehicles, according to Refinitiv data.

Tesla files a petition against U.S. labor board order

(Reuters) – Tesla Inc has filed an appeal on a U.S. National Labor Relations Board ruling that the electric-car maker had violated U.S. labor law, and on the agency’s order that Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk delete a tweet from the account.

The electric-car maker filed a petition on Friday with the New Orleans-based U.S. Court of Appeals to review the NLRB’s decision and order issued on March 25.

In the petition, Tesla asked the court to review the order and grant Tesla “any further relief which the Court deems just and equitable.”

Last month, the NRLB ordered Tesla to direct Musk to delete the tweet and to post a notice addressing the unlawful tweet at all of its facilities nationwide and include language that says “WE WILL take appropriate steps to ensure Musk complies with our directive.”

In the 2018 tweet, Musk wrote: “Nothing stopping Tesla team at our car plant from voting union. Could do so tmrw if they wanted. But why pay union dues & give up stock options for nothing? Our safety record is 2X better than when plant was UAW & everybody already gets healthcare.”

The NLRB also directed Tesla to offer one former employee reinstatement as well as to rescind 2017 rules that prohibited distributing union literature in its parking lot on non-work time and rules that barred distributing union stickers, leaflets, and pamphlets without first obtaining permission.

Elon Musk: you can now buy Tesla cars with bitcoin

Tesla Inc chief Elon Musk said on Wednesday the company’s electric vehicles can now be bought using bitcoin and the option will be available outside the United States later this year.bitcoin.

“You can now buy a Tesla with bitcoin,” he tweeted here on Wednesday, adding that bitcoin paid to Tesla will not be converted into conventional currency.

VIEW FULL TWEETS ON TWITTER

The electric-car maker had last month said it bought $1.5 billion of bitcoin and would soon accept it as a form of payment for cars, sending the price of the world’s most popular cryptocurrency soaring.

Musk, who has been promoting cryptocurrencies through his Twitter account, had last month criticized conventional cash, saying when it “has negative real interest, only a fool wouldn’t look elsewhere.”

He had said that the difference with cash made it “adventurous enough” for the S&P 500 company to hold the cryptocurrency.

Following Tesla’s investment in bitcoin, several companies, including Uber Technologies Inc and Twitter Inc had shared their views on the cryptocurrency. reut.rs/3cg9gMP

Uber Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi said the ride-hailing company discussed and “quickly dismissed” the idea of investing in bitcoin. However, he added that Uber could potentially accept the cryptocurrency as payment.

Twitter had said earlier it was still undecided in holding bitcoin, while General Motors Co said it will evaluate whether bitcoin can be accepted as payment for its vehicles.

Tesla recently added “Technoking of Tesla” to Musk’s list of official titles.

Tesla rallies after Ark Invest predicts $3,000 stock price

Shares of Tesla jumped over 6% on Monday, getting a lift from a bullish report from Ark Invest, an influential shareholder in the electric car maker.

Ark Invest said in a report on Friday it expects Tesla’s stock price to more than quadruple to $3,000 by 2025. Tesla was last trading at $698 a share.

The asset management company run by Cathie Wood also predicted Tesla’s electric vehicle revenue would reach between $234 billion and $367 billion by 2025.

Tesla’s total revenue in 2020 grew 28% to $31.5 billion.

Popular with retail investors, the Ark Innovation exchange traded fund owns Tesla shares worth close to $2.5 billion. Tesla accounts for about 10% of the $24 billion Ark Innovation fund, making it the fund’s largest investment.

Ark Innovation rose 2.5% on Monday and is up over 200% in the past 12 months.

Tesla is down over 20% from its January record high and is up around 700% over the past 12 months.

Russian pleads guilty to Tesla ransomware plot

A Russian man in the US has pleaded guilty to plotting to extort money from the electric car company Tesla.

Egor Igorevich Kriuchkov is accused of offering an employee $1m (£721,000) to place ransomware in the computer network of the company’s battery plant in Nevada.

He planned to use the ransomware to steal company secrets for extortion, prosecutors alleged.

The 27-year-old pleaded guilty on Thursday in Reno, Nevada.

Mr Kriuchkov acted on behalf of criminals abroad and tried to bribe a Tesla employee in person, prosecutors said.

Ransomware attacks companies or organisations by scrambling their internal computer networks, stealing information or locking users out. The attackers then demand large sums of money in return for ending the hack.

The FBI said the planned attack on Tesla was stopped before it could take place.

Mr Kriuchkov told a court in September that the Russian government was aware of the planned hack, but the FBI and lawyers have not alleged that there were ties to the Kremlin. 

“The swift response of the company and the FBI prevented a major exfiltration of the victim company’s data and stopped the extortion scheme at its inception,” Acting Assistant Attorney General Nicholas McQuaid said in a statement. 

Mr Kruichokov was in the US for five weeks on a tourist visa in July and August last year when he tried to recruit the Tesla employee, according to court documents reported in US media.

He was quoted as saying that he and his co-conspirators would steal the data, and if Tesla refused to pay the ransom the company’s secrets would be placed on the internet.

The US Department of Justice said that he took the employee out for drinks multiple times and gave him a phone. After the employee told Tesla about the plan, the company contacted the FBI who instructed the employee to record their conversations with Mr Kruichokov.

Mr Kruichokov faces up to ten months in prison after signing a deal with prosecutors to plead guilty, according to technology website The Record.

U.S. safety agency reviewing 23 Tesla crashes; three from recent weeks

The U.S. auto safety agency disclosed on Thursday it has opened 25 investigations into crashes of Tesla vehicles, including three crashes in recent weeks, and 23 remain active.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) confirmed Thursday that it will send a team to investigate a recent crash of a Tesla in the Houston area. Two of the 25 NHTSA investigations have been completed and the results published.

Source: Reuters

Outgoing CEO says Panasonic must cut Tesla reliance as battery tie-up evolves: FT

(Reuters) – Panasonic Corp’s outgoing Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said the company will need to reduce its heavy reliance on Tesla Inc by making batteries more compatible with electric vehicles from other global carmakers, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

“At some point, we need to graduate from our one-legged approach of relying solely on Tesla,” Tsuga, who will step down after nine years as CEO from April 1, told the newspaper in an interview.

“We are entering a different phase and we need to keep an eye on supplying manufacturers other than Tesla.”

The Japanese conglomerate announced in November that Tsuga would step down in April after nine years at the helm and that Yuki Kusumi, the head of its automotive business, would take over.

Under Tsuga’s leadership, Panasonic has shifted its focus away from low-margin consumer electronics to batteries, factory machines and components. The company said last month it expects its battery business supplying Tesla to be profitable this fiscal year.

Panasonic has partnered with Tesla in a $5 billion battery “gigafactory” near Reno, Nevada.

Tesla raises price of variants of Model Y, Model 3, Model S

Tesla Inc has increased price of its Model Y Long Range and Model S Plaid plus by $10,000, the electric-car maker’s website showed.

The price of its Model 3 Standard Range Plus has been increased to $37,490 from $36,990 earlier and Model 3 Long Range AWD was raised to $46,490 from $45,990, according to the website.

Tesla, however, kept the price of its Performance Model Y at the same range, the website showed.