There has been a lot of talk since 2014 about Tesla coming to India. In fact the company added India to its order list in 2016 when it introduced the Model 3 to the world and this certainly got our hopes high on seeing the electric car maker in the country. Closer to the 2018 Auto Expo, Elon Musk, had said that Tesla might be in the country very soon but that plan did not work out. In all his replies to the question, 'When is Tesla coming to India?', there's always been an underlying optimism but this time around the answer to the same question was clouded with a lot of skepticism. Elon Musk's answer to a tweet by Yashwant Reddy says, "I'm told import duties are extremely high (up to 100%), even for electric cars. This would make our cars unaffordable."
I'm told import duties are extremely high (up to 100%), even for electric cars. This would make our cars unaffordable.— E (@elonmusk) August 1, 2019
This of course is true. For any car costing over ₹ 27 lakh, the import duty applied to it is 100 per cent. For anything less than that it is 60 per cent, so yes, the cheapest Tesla - the Model 3 which costs close to Rs 20-Rs 25 lakh in global markets will attract a 60 per cent import duty and will be expensive to buy in India. However, if an assembly plant were to be set up, then the import duty would be around 10 to 15 per cent and given that the Government has recently reduced GST on EVs from 12 per cent to 5 per cent, the incentive will help give electric cars some traction and a much needed momentum.
Also Read: Tesla Model 3 Exclusive Review
India was listed on the Bookings list for the Model 3
However, what Tesla could focus on is setting up its India-wide Supercharger network, which was promised in 2016. Given that the government recently reduced the GST on charging stations from 18 to 5 per cent, this could be the ideal time for Tesla to kick-start the supercharger network which promises to fully charge a vehicle in just 75 minutes.
For other countries, we pay in part for the local factory by selling cars there ahead of time. Also, gives a sense of demand. Current rules in India prevent that, but recent changes in sales tax give hope for future changes.— E (@elonmusk) August 1, 2019
But there's still a lot of doubt on that happening either. Elon tweeted again saying "For other countries, we pay in part for the local factory by selling cars there ahead of time. Also, gives a sense of demand. Current rules in India prevent that, but recent changes in sales tax give hope for future changes."