American electric vehicle maker Tesla may set up a manufacturing unit in India if it first succeeds with imported vehicles in the country, according to company CEO Elon Musk. He, however, said at present import duties in India are “the highest in the world” and is hoping for “at least a temporary tariff relief for electric vehicles”.

Interacting on twitter with followers who asked him to launch Tesla cars in India Musk said, “We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!”

https://twitter.com/madan3/status/1418433462420185090?s=19

Moreover, clean energy vehicles are treated the same as diesel or petrol, which does not seem entirely consistent with the climate goals of India.” 

This comment from Musk comes amidst reports that the US carmaker is lobbying heavily to seek a concession. According to reports, the company has written to Indian ministries seeking a big reduction in import duties on EVs. The letter said reducing duties would “boost demand and generate revenue for the government”, sources told the agency

At present, India imposes 60 per cent duty on imported cars that are priced below $40,000 and 100 per cent for those above that figure. This makes most of the completely built unit imported cars twice as expensive as they are in many foreign markets. 

After years of speculations, Tesla formally entered India in January this year. It has registered with the name – ‘Tesla India Motors and Energy Pvt Ltd’ with the Registrar of Companies at Bengaluru, Karnataka.

It was then expected that Tesla, which quickly formed a Indian team and was scouting for showroom locations, would launch its most affordable offering- the Model 3 in coming months. However, the carmaker is yet to start its sales in India. 

There were also reports that Tesla, the world’s most valuable automobile company, would be setting up a manufacturing plant in Karnataka. However, it was never confirmed by the company.

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