According to the Times of India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is planning a visit at Tesla’s headquarters during a tour in California next month. Tesla isn’t currently operating in India, but the visit might be a step toward changing that.
In the past, company executives have been on record saying that they plan on starting a dialogue with the Indian government to rationalise import duty on electric cars, which are ridiculously high in the country.
India is third largest automotive market in Asia and a lot like China, which is the largest, they are starting to feel the consequences of the pollution brought by their fast growing industrial economy. But unlike China, India has yet to implement policies to encourage the sale of electric vehicles to try to reduce pollution from transport.
Indian import duty fee are extremely high, which keeps automotive import low and limiting electric vehicle options to vehicles made in India. Tesla executive Jay Vijayan, Chief Information Officer, confirmed the company is thinking about assembling cars in India to get around the import fee:
“We have identified India is one of the potential markets in Asia to have a local assembly plant, but we need a definite policy from the government to support electric vehicles in the future”
Tesla currently only builds cars out of its Fremont factory, but some light assemblies are completed in Tilburg, Netherlands for deliveries going in Europe.
Tesla didn’t confirm any timeline for its entry on the Indian automotive market and it does seem to be highly dependent to the government changing certain policies, but in an interview with the Economic Times, Vijayan linked Tesla’s introduction in India with the company bringing to market the Model 3, Tesla’s third generation vehicle to be priced at around $35,000 and expected to start production in 2017.
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