Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways and the Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari on Monday said that US clean energy and electric vehicle company Tesla will “start operations” in India in early 2021.
Gadkari was talking at The Indian Express Idea Exchange programme. He said Tesla will start operations first with sales and then maybe look at assembly and manufacturing based on the response to the cars.
“India is going to become a number one manufacturing hub for auto in five years,” Gadkari added.
During the conversation with Indian Express editors, the minister underlined the push for electrical cars in the country and said a lot of Indian companies were also working on electrical vehicles that might be more affordable, technically as advanced as the Tesla.
In October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had suggested that the company will come to India in 2021 while responding to a tweet from India. “Next year for sure,” Musk had replied when a handle called Tesla Club India checked with him about the company’s progress in India
Recent reports suggest the first model to come to India will be the more affordable Tesla Model 3, booking for which could start in a few weeks. However, sales are expected to happen only in the second half of the year. The completely built units will be imported and likely to be priced Rs 55 lakh onwards. Tesla will most probably handle sales directly as it does in other parts of the world.
In 2016, Tesla has collected $1000 deposit from interested buyers in India. However, those consumers are still waiting for their cars. In 2017, a year after the company started taking bookings, Musk had said his cars could come to India in the summer, but later blamed FDI norms for the delay. “Maybe I’m misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply doesn’t yet exist in India to support that,” he had tweeted.