Union Ministers kept telling Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, that he could come to India and make electric cars there. However, Musk seemed more interested in his purchase of Twitter than in what the Indian government has been saying over and over again for months.
Musk has shown no interest in responding to several requests from the Indian government, especially from Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari. This comes after reports that the team he hired in India last year has been moved to focus on the Middle East and the larger Asia-Pacific markets.
Nishant Prasad, who is in charge of setting up Tesla’s supercharger network in India, has changed his LinkedIn profile to say that he is the Charging Operations Lead for the Asia-Pacific region. Manoj Khurana was the first person Tesla India hired. He was in charge of public policy and business development. Last month, he moved to California to take a product role.
Also, in the next two years, the Indian electric vehicle market will grow, and 3 crores of EVs will be on the road, according to Nitin Gadkari.
Musk, who is in charge of Tesla, seems to be taking this action as a way to get back at the Indian government for not meeting Musk’s request to lower import taxes on Tesla cars.
Several Indian leaders, like KT Rama Rao, Minister of Industries for Telangana, and Jayant Patil, Minister of Maharashtra and President of the state NCP, have asked Musk over and over again to bring Tesla to India, but to no avail.
Gadkari said last month at the Raisina Dialogue 2022 that if Musk wants to make Tesla cars in China and sell them here, “it can’t be a good deal for India.”
“We want him to come to India and make things there. Nothing is wrong. Because the vendors are there and we have all kinds of technology, Musk can lower the cost. India is a big market and a good place to sell goods to other countries. Musk can send Tesla cars from India to other countries,” he told the crowd.
The minister said earlier this month when he was asked again what he thought about Tesla making cars in India, that if Musk came to the country and made Tesla cars there, that would also help the electric car company.
Gadkari had said in February that Tesla cars can’t be put on the road until Musk starts making them in India. When asked about Tesla’s request to lower customs duties on electric cars, Gadkari said that the country couldn’t please just one car company.
Musk had said on Twitter that the government was making it hard for him to sell its products in India. He posted that Tesla isn’t in India yet because of “challenges with the government.”
At the moment, India taxes imported cars that cost more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh), which includes insurance and shipping costs, at 100%. Cars that cost less than $40,000 are taxed at 60%.
With a price tag of $40,000 (over Rs 30 lakh), the Tesla Model 3 may remain an affordable model in the US, but with import duties, its price in India, which is expected to be around Rs 60 lakh, would make it unaffordable.
Musk says he wants to sell cars in India, but the country’s import taxes on electric vehicles are “by far the highest in the world.”
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