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Modi’s Silicon Valley trip gets a power start at Tesla Motors

Modi_in_US_2015 Updated: Sep 27, 2015 09:52 IST
Yashwant Raj
Modi in US

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

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s tech leg of his US trip had a powerful start on Sunday (India time) with a tour of Tesla’s battery facility in Palo Alto. He saw their power cars, too.

In fact, he leaned against one of them — hand on windscreen — as he seemed deep in a conversation with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who appeared to be explaining a point in his typical animated style.

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“PM Modi and I talked about electricity generation, and how arguably there’s a way to skip ahead with it as with cellphones,” Musk told TV crews given access to the tour.

Prime Minister Modi began his Silicon Valley tour with a community lunch, where Indian Americans got a chance to get photographs with him.

As they dug into a sumptuous vegetarian lunch after the phot-op, Modi zipped off to the Tesla plant where he was greeted by Musk and other members of his team.

Read: Apple CEO Tim Cook meets Modi amid PM’s Digital India push

Modi was dressed for the occasion, discarding his bandh-gala suit for khakis — a No. 2 Silicon Valley favourite after blue denims -- and a pistachio green linen shirt and a waistcoat.

Musk, who wore denims and a jacket, could be seen listening to Modi intently, before launching into a reply -- his arms flying with energy.

The conversation was about Tesla’s “battery technology, energy storage, and renewable energy and the positive implications of this innovation for India”, said Tesla spokesperson Ricardo Reyes.

Musk launched a line of home and industrial battery packs in 2014 — called the Powerwall — that can run, off-grid, an entire household or a small industrial unit.

The potential for India is obvious, with the Modi government committed to producing 175 Gig watts of renewable energy by 2022.