Meet Rohan Patel, man at core of Tesla's India plans who exited firm days before Elon cancelled Delhi trip - Hindustan Times
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Meet Rohan Patel, man at core of Tesla's India plans who exited firm days before Elon cancelled Delhi trip

Apr 20, 2024 02:05 PM IST

Rohan Patel's resignation from Tesla came days ahead of his cancellation of India visit and after a report claiming Musk has scraped low-cost car plans.

Elon Musk today announced his decision to postpone a key visit to India to expand Tesla market due to ‘very heavy Tesla obligations’.

Rohan Patel, Tesla's vice president of public policy and business development, exited the company on April 15, 2023
Rohan Patel, Tesla's vice president of public policy and business development, exited the company on April 15, 2023

"Unfortunately, very heavy Tesla obligations require that the visit to India be delayed, but I do very much look forward to visiting later this year," Elon Musk wrote on X. Surprisingly only last week, Elon Musk confirmed his meeting with PM Modi in India. Musk's high profile visit was expected to be a win-win for both India and Tesla. He was expected to announce an investment of 2-3 billion dollars, to build a factory in India, in line with PM Modi's Made in India plans.

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Now, the visit stands postponed ‘until later this year’ and so does his decision to expand his ambitious Starlink project in India. Musk is also awaiting Indian government regulatory approvals to begin offering his Starlink satellite broadband services in the world's most populous country.

Rohan Patel: Man core to Tesla's India entry plans exited company

However it's interesting to note that Rohal Patel, Tesla's vice president of public policy and business development exited the company on April 15. He was a core team member of its India expansion plans. On the same days Drew Baglino, vice president of powertrain and energy engineering also left the company on April 15. Both of them separately announced their departure on X and were thanked by Elon Musk.

“My immigrant parents worked their asses off and as a result I’m the luckiest dude. Lucky to have been a part of @BarackObama’s campaign/administration, and truly honored to have worked at @Tesla to positively changing multiple industries,” Rohan posted on X.

To which Elon replied, “Thanks for everything you’ve done for Tesla. Much appreciated.”

Patel had joined Tesla in 2016 after working as a senior advisor to former President Barack Obama on climate and energy issues, among other policy matters.

Has Elon Musk set aside affordable EV plans?

A 2023 Reuters Report stated that Rohan Patel was in New Delhi to meet officials from the Invest India agency to discuss Tesla plan. Agency also reported that Tesla representatives were expected to meet commerce minister Piyush Goyal, with discussions expected to centre on setting up an EV supply chain and land allotment for a factory.

Reuters recently reported that Tesla has set aside plans to make a more affordable new EV at Musk’s direction. The stark reversal reportedly comes as Tesla faces fierce competition globally from Chinese electric-vehicle makers flooding the market with cars priced as low as $10,000. To which Musk posted that "Reuters is lying" after the report, without citing any inaccuracies. He has not spoken further about the model, leaving investors clamouring for clarity.

Tesla loses all gains made over past one year?

Tesla's books are in the red currently with its share tumbling below $150/share and giving up all gains made over the past year. This comes after Reuters report on company's plan to halt affordable EV plans. The electric vehicle maker is reeling under falling sales and steep discounts intended to lure more buyers.

According to reports it's been a bad year for employees. Tesla has announced cutting 10% of its staff globally, about 14,000 jobs. It would also try to re-instate Musk's $56 billion pay package that was rejected by a Delaware judge.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Vertika Kanaujia is Editor Audience Growth at Hindustan Times and oversees the website’s coverage of business news, health, technology and internet culture. She is a Chevening Scholar and a Columbia Journalism University Fellow. Vertika has been a journalist for more than 18 years. After starting her career as a business journalist in TV she has worked with various leading news channels. You can email her at vertika.kanaujia@htdigital.in.

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