On 12 July, residents of the western Indian city of Pune woke up to the news woke up to the news zigwheels Tesla Is Testing The Model 3 In Pune Under Full Camo Read more  of a car wrapped in camouflage, out making what were apparently test runs on the city’s streets. Automobile publications were abuzz. The much-awaited Tesla Model 3—the fourth iteration of the carmaker’s plug-in electric vehicle (EV) and also the world’s all-time best-selling car in the segment—had arrived in India. 

For years, other than the occasional Twitter mentions about India’s changing EV climate, the alternative energy giant hadn’t made any significant headway in the Indian market. Until now. 

The company is reportedly preparing to launch the car in the Indian market by late this year or early 2022. Not only has Tesla already registered an office in the southern Indian city of Bengaluru, but it has also set tongues wagging about where the company might put down a potential manufacturing plant. The biggest shift in its stance towards India—which has been lukewarm at best till 2020—has been the rapid pace at which it has hired an experienced and well-connected team. 

According to information sourced by Tesla Club India, a total of nine India-based executives have taken charge of various roles in the company. Tesla Club India is an unofficial Tesla fan club in the country, run by two electric vehicle enthusiasts. Among the executives hired are a seasoned lobbyist, an engineer who previously worked with electric scooter company Ather Energy, and several former executives of luxury car brands. 

“We notice that Tesla’s taken a novel route to hiring in India. We’ve heard from independent recruiters, the approach is to hire from retail, e-commerce and EV startup talent pool. Not only limited to conventional automotive employees,” says Harshvardhan Sharma, head of automotive retail at Nomura, a business consulting firm. This has been Tesla’s approach to hiring in other countries as well, as opposed to other young automakers such as China’s Great Wall Motors Great Wall Motors The Ken MG, Great Wall: Chinese carmakers zip into India’s empty ‘smart’ feature spot Read more or the Netherlands-based Stellantis, which opted for more “conventional wisdom” by hiring auto industry veterans. Ola Electric, the electric vehicle arm of ride-hailing startup Ola, too, has leveraged big names from the traditional automobile industry to kickstart its EV two-wheeler plans in India. 

Dictionary definition

Unconventional is Tesla’s middle name. Right from its in-house manufacturing prowess to its massive gigafactory ambitions, the company’s strategies have been out of the box.