The Indian transport minister wants Tesla to manufacture cars in India. However, Elon Musk is yet to show his interest in setting up a plant in the country

Ever since Tesla expressed their intent to launch cars in the Indian market, the Union government has been asking the electric car giant to set up a factory in India. However, Tesla wants to analyse the market before making a decision. Tesla officials have even lobbied to bring down the import taxes.

Shri Nitin Gadkari, the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways while talking recently at an event concerned with climate change said that Tesla has been in talks with the Indian government to begin manufacturing their cars in India. He said that cars from the EV brand will be a ‘sasti’, meaning that it will be relatively inexpensive compared to expectations, and will cost around Rs. 35 lakh.

Tesla to be an affordable car in India: Nitin Gadkari
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It’s no secret that Tesla has been testing its cars in the country since registering the company as Tesla India Motors and Energy Pvt. Ltd, back in January. Not only has the Model 3 been unofficially confirmed, but the Model Y has also been spotted doing the rounds. Should the Model 3 come in as a CBU (completely built unit), it can have an estimated price of anywhere between Rs. 50 lakh to Rs 60 lakh. Now that’s a rather steep price tag for a compact saloon car.

This seems to be in line with Shri Nitin Gadkari’s recent statement, where he said that he has asked Tesla to Come to India, make it here, sell it here, and export from here.

The government will provide you all the help and support you need - Nitin Gadkari

This is exactly why, Tesla has been in talks with the government to reduce import duties on their products, and Hyundai has also been backing Tesla’s requests. However, this wasn’t received well by Tata and Ola Electric and their stance are that this move would hurt domestic players.

Tesla to be an affordable car in India: Nitin Gadkari
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Tesla has a factory in neighboring China and for now, will import an initial batch of cars to sell in India

The government too does not seem to be open to the idea of reducing import duties, and the Ministry of Heavy Industries has in fact advised the Electric Vehicle automaker to commence production in India before raising requests for tax subsidies.

Tesla is reluctant

Tesla though has been reluctant to commit to setting up a full-scale manufacturing facility in India, before it can make a thorough assessment of the demand and sales for its products, however, they have been in touch with Indian OEMs to act as suppliers for various components.

The minister also said that he has driven the car and that he liked it a lot. He not only praised the American EV maker, but he also lauded the domestic carmaker, Tata, on their EV and Ola for their electric scooter.

Shantonil Nag
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