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Live: PM Modi visits Tesla Motors on first day in Silicon Valley

india Updated: Sep 27, 2015 05:31 IST
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk.(PMO)

With renewable and alternative sources of energy high on his priority list, Prime Minster Narendra Modi on Saturday paid a visit to the headquarters of Tesla Motors at Pao Alto to get a feel on what could drive the automobiles in the future.

Modi, who was said to be interested in Tesla’s ‘Powerwall’ -- a home battery that charges using electricity generated from solar panels -- was shown around the floor by the company’s CEO Elon Musk.

Soon after his arrival in San Jose and an interaction with the Indian-American community, the PM left for the facility of Tesla that was was founded in 2003 by a group of engineers who wanted to prove that electric cars can be better than gasoline-powered cars.

Modi, who had landed at the Norman Y Minte San Jose International Airport, was driven around the facility in a battery-powered cart after which he also posed for some photos standing next to a gleaming red car manufactured by the company with chief executive Elon Musk.

“PM Modi and I talked abt electricity generation, and how arguably theres way to skip ahead with it as with cellphones,” Musk told reporters later

The electric car pioneer recently unveiled the “home battery” which Musk said would help change the “entire energy infrastructure of the world”.

The electric car pioneer recently unveiled the “home battery” which Musk said would help change the “entire energy infrastructure of the world”.

The Tesla Powerwall can store power from solar panels, from the electricity grid at night when it is typically cheaper, and provide a secure backup in the case of a power outage. “The goal is complete transformation of the entire energy infrastructure of the world, to completely sustainable zero carbon,” Musk said shortly before unveiling the Powerwall.

While Tesla produces relatively few vehicles, it has become a star in the sector due to keen demand and a reputation for high quality. The latest electric car by Tesla, which goes from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds, has been a highly rated car.

The company is also investing heavily in a $5 billion battery factory in Nevada in the US, which will make batteries for both its cars and its Tesla Energy home battery business. The factory is set to start production in the first quarter of next year.

Modi, India’s social media-addicted PM, is looking to tap investors’ pockets on his US trip and win support from the Valley giants to burnish his Digital India campaign.

After the Tesla visit, Modi will attend meetings at Apple, Facebook and Google, while leading Indian entrepreneurs will present themselves to investors.

Earlier in the day PM Modi arrived at San Jose on Saturday to a red carpet welcome and a rousing reception from the Indian-American community in Silicon Valley.

Flying in from New York for meetings with America’s top tech titans, he was greeted at the airport by an enthusiastic crowd amid chants of “Modi, Modi”.

Members of the Indian community wearing tricolour scarves and waving paper flags also held aloft signs saying “We Support Digital India.”

Soon after Modi landed, external affairs ministry spokesman Vikas Swarup tweeted: “Namaste California! PM @narendramodi arrives in San Jose, for a tech-startup-energy-diaspora oriented weekend.”

The PM then interacted with members of the Indian community who turned up at Hotel Fairmont in San Jose. He also exchanged pleasantries with representatives of the Sikh and Gujarati communities who called on him.

Modi left New York for the second leg of his tour immediately after he hosted the leaders of Brazil, Japan and Germany for the G-4 summit on the long pending UNSC reform process.

The first Indian leader to visit California in more than three decades, Modi is set to have meetings with Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai, Indian-American chief executives of Microsoft and Google respectively.

He will also meet Apple CEO Tim Cook, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and electric carmaker Tesla’s iconic CEO Elon Musk.

During his two-day stay in Silicon Valley, he would begin and conclude his engagements with the Indian-American community, the last one being an address to a crowd of over 18,500 Indian-Americans at the SAP Centre in San Jose.

On the morning of September 27, Modi will visit the headquarters of social network giant Facebook, where he will hold a town-hall meeting with CEO Zuckerberg. He will then head to Google, part of his strong push to drive technological innovation in India.

Modi will also have bilateral meetings with US energy secretary Ernest Moniz, California Governor Edmund Brown. He will also meet Salman Khan, the founder and CEO of Khan Academy, a free online education platform that produces thousands of video lessons on diverse subjects for students.

He will also attend a roundtable on renewable energy and an India-US start-up meet.

(With inputs from agencies)