Tesla to start operations in India by early 2021: report

Only the Tesla Model 3 will be sold initially, likely for Rs 55 lakhs.

Highlights
  • Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari has confirmed that Tesla is coming to India in early 2021
  • Tesla will only sell its products initially
  • Based on the response, the company might set up manufacturing plants in India too 

Automobile enthusiasts will be thrilled to know that renowned electric carmaker Tesla will begin operations in India in “early 2021.” The information comes from none other than Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari, who broke the news to Indian Express. The news should also come as a relief for the people who paid Tesla $1,000 as a deposit. Tesla continued to take bookings until 2017 and planned on releasing some cars in India the same year. However, the launch was delayed indefinitely due to non-adherence to local regulations that require foreign-origin companies to source at least 30 percent of the parts locally.

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Given the complexity involved in making Tesla cars, it is unlikely that the Elon Musk-led company will manufacture the vehicles in India. However, there are talks of Tesla setting up a manufacturing unit in India in the future based on how the cars are received. Given the prohibitively high price of Tesla offerings, the company will test the waters in India by launching its most affordable Tesla Model 3 first. However, they will cost a whopping Rs 55 lakhs due to import duties and other local taxes. We can expect that figure to drop significantly once local manufacturing starts.

Sky-high prices will be the least of Tesla’s concerns in the hypercompetitive Indian market. Charging stations are few and far between due to the general paucity of electric vehicles. However, Gadkari is optimistic about locally-manufactured electric vehicles, and states that they will match Teslas when it comes to features, but for a fraction of the price.