Tesla scouts locations for proposed $3bn India car plant


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Good morning. Tesla will this month send a team to scout locations in India for a proposed $2bn-$3bn electric car plant, according to two people with direct knowledge of the electric vehicle company’s plans.

The step towards making vehicles in India comes after New Delhi last month lowered tariffs on higher-priced imported EVs for companies that commit to making them in the country within three years.

The tariff cut was a concession Tesla had been pushing for as a precondition for investing.

A confirmed Tesla investment would be a major boost for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government ahead of a general election. Modi’s record on business and job creation is expected to be in sharp focus.

Here are more details on Tesla’s India plans — including the states that are contenders for the proposed plant.

And here’s what else I’m keeping tabs on today:

  • Economic data: S&P Global publishes its services purchasing managers’ indices for India and Australia.

  • US-China relations: US Treasury secretary Janet Yellen arrives in Guangzhou, part of a five-day China trip that also includes a visit to Beijing.

  • Nato: The alliance celebrates its 75th anniversary. Secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg will give a press conference at the Nato foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels.

  • Holidays: Financial markets are closed in China, Hong Kong and Macau for Tomb Sweeping Day. Today is also a market holiday in Taiwan.

Join FT journalists and expert guests for a subscriber exclusive webinar on 17 April 13:00 — 14:00 GMT +1, as they discuss what business can expect from India’s upcoming general election. Register here and put your questions to the panel.

Five more top stories

1. Nine people have been killed and almost 1,000 injured in Taiwan after the country’s strongest earthquake in almost 25 years. The quake — which had a 7.2-magnitude according to Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency — hit an area south of Hualien, a city of about 100,000. Kathrin Hille in Taipei has the latest.

2. Exclusive: Google is working on the biggest shake-up of its search business by charging for new “premium” features powered by generative artificial intelligence. The proposed revamp would be the first time any of Google’s core product falls behind a paywall, showing how the company is still grappling with a technology that threatens its core advertising business.

3. The EU has launched two investigations into Chinese solar panel manufacturers that Brussels said have benefited from market-distorting subsidies. The EU’s solar industry has blamed cheap Chinese imports for the heavy losses and plant closures of several European solar panel manufacturers. Here’s what the probes are focused on.

4. Israeli war cabinet member Benny Gantz has called for early elections, piling pressure on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his increasingly unpopular right-wing coalition. Gantz said the elections should be held in September, approaching the first anniversary of the start of the war against Hamas in Gaza.

5. Disney has defeated a challenge to its board from activist investor Nelson Peltz, handing a definitive victory to chief executive Bob Iger and ending one of the most expensive and closely watched boardroom battles in history. The entertainment giant yesterday announced shareholders — including large investors Vanguard and BlackRock — had voted in favour of its 12 nominees “by a substantial margin”.

News in-depth

An image of a mine in Australia
Australia’s lithium industry is given as an example of where the country could capture more value © Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Australia’s traditional manufacturing industry has been in sharp decline since the 1970s when the country forged trade relations with China and opened up its economy to imports. But recent trade tensions with Beijing and global supply chain vulnerabilities exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic have spurred the government into action. Canberra is trying to revitalise manufacturing with a A$15bn (US$9.7bn) fund to reduce its reliance on resources and agriculture — and help Australia shed its label as the “world’s quarry”.

We’re also reading . . . 

  • Moscow terror attack: Why did Russian intelligence dismiss US warnings of a terror threat before the March 22 attack on Crocus City Hall?

  • The limits of AI: A shortlived retail crime wave linked to self-checkout systems is a warning about the unintended consequences of automation, writes Brooke Masters.

  • ‘Naked clams’: To save the oceans, people (and fish) need to consume this seafood rather than wiping out stocks of the “big five”, writes David Willer of Murray Edwards College, Cambridge.

Chart of the day

Since taking office in 2014, India’s Narendra Modi has expanded welfare programmes, many prefixed with the words “Prime Ministerial” and featuring his name and picture. So how much is the Modi government spending on such handouts? And will it sway how Indians vote in the upcoming general election?

Take a break from the news

There are about 4,000 snake species, living in oceans, lakes, deserts, forests and even underground. A new study shows the twisting back-story of the species, an animal touted as a new superfood, writes science commentator Anjana Ahuja.

An image featuring a cartoon snake
© Andy Carter

Additional contributions from Tee Zhuo and Gordon Smith

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