A tweet from Tesla Motors' CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday about setting up a Tesla factory in India may have taken some electric-car fanatics and Wall Street by surprise.
But if a deal with India didn't seem like it was among the top items on Musk's mind, that's because many have missed a budding "Twitter EV bromance" between the Tesla founder and CEO and Indian auto executives and government officials.
On June 2, Anand Mahindra, the head of India's leading automaker Mahindra and Mahindra, invited Musk to come to India and be part of the country's budding electric-vehicles market.
@ anandmahindraTime you got out here Elon. You don't want to leave that whole market to Mahindra do you?? The more the merrier—and greener..!
Musk's response was short, noncommittal and guarded:
Unlike China, the other big emerging market, Musk has been blowing hot and cold for some time now on the question of Tesla's foray into the Indian market. In February one of Tesla's Indian fans took to Twitter to ask about the automaker's plans for the India launch.
Musk responded with a tease of summer plans.
But later in May, when another fan posed a similar question on Twitter, Musk backtracked, citing regulatory hurdles around local sourcing requirements.
On the face of it, Tesla and India seem to be an ideal fit for each other. Both are committed to the cause of renewable energy and green mobility. Tesla is a sustainable energy company that is pushing for a world of zero-emission vehicles, and India is on course to become the world's third-largest auto market, tied to an ambitious vision to do away with fossil-fuel cars in favor of all-electric cars by 2030.