Tesla will come to India early next year, country’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari told national daily the Indian Express on Monday.
The electric-car maker will start with sales and then might look at assembly and manufacturing based on the response, the minister told the newspaper.
Tesla and the minister’s office could not be immediately reached by Reuters for comment.
Though keen to reduce its oil dependence and cut down on pollution, India’s efforts to promote electric vehicles have been so far stymied by a lack of investment in manufacturing and infrastructure such as charging stations.
The first model to be launched will be Model 3, the cheapest among Tesla vehicles, with prices starting at over $74,739 (roughly Rs. 55 lakhs), according to a report. The bookings will start in January, the report said.
In October, the government of Maharashtra had invited Tesla to the state, weeks after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested entering the country next year. In a tweet, State Tourism and Environment Minister Aaditya Thackeray said he and industries minister Subhash Desai held a video call with Tesla executives earlier in the day to invite them to the state.
Earlier this month, Musk said “Next year for sure” on Twitter in reply to a post with a photograph of a T-shirt with the message: “India wants Tesla”.
Tesla’s entry into Asia’s third largest economy could come at a time when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is increasingly focusing to promote the use of electric vehicles.
Last month, Tesla’s market value dropped $50 billion (roughly Rs. 3,68,300 crores) despite CEO Elon Musk’s promise to cut electric vehicle costs so radically that a $25,000 (roughly Rs. 18.4 lakhs) car that drives itself will be possible, but not for at least three years.
© Thomson Reuters 2020
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