Sajjan Jindal’s steel-to-power JSW Group plans to diversify into electric car manufacturing, two sources said as the government boosts support for non-polluting vehicles. Electric vehicles that use expensive batteries have failed to take off in cost-conscious and power-deficient India, despite enjoying incentives like low taxes from the government that has set a goal of raising the number of such vehicles to up to seven million units by 2020, from just around 20,000 now. But debt-laden JSW believes government help — as promised by Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on a visit to US electric car maker Tesla Motors’ factory near California this year — and its own supply of steel can make its cars more competitive, said one of the sources with knowledge of the matter. Mahindra and Mahindra is the only Indian firm that makes electric cars, but sales have been softer than expected. JSW’s electric car plans have been endorsed by Gadkari, said the source. Gadkari, during his US visit, offered to help Tesla set up plants in India and seek local partners, according to a statement from his ministry. Gadkari could not be reached for comment.
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