The Indian automotive spectrum has blossomed in recent years and with it, the EV segment has been enjoying a great resurgence. The world’s second-most populous country is an untapped market for Tesla, but not for long as the EV marque is months away from entering India. After Elon Musk tweeted back in early October about arriving in India next year, a local authority has confirmed the plan.
The Economic Times quotes Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari saying Tesla will indeed begin operations in India early next year. It’s expected to kick things off by importing the company’s most affordable vehicle, the Model 3. In the long run, Tesla might look into assembling and manufacturing the cars locally if there’s enough demand to justify the investment.
Next year for sure
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 2, 2020
It’s important to point out that while the Model 3 is Tesla’s entry-level car, it will be subjected to a high import duty charge as the EV will arrive in India as a completely built unit (CBU) and therefore it won’t be exactly cheap. In other words, it’s going to be a fully assembled car shipped from one of Tesla’s factories, likely the Shanghai plant.
Details about how much the Model 3 is going to cost in India are shrouded in mystery, but India Today alleges it could be priced at Rs 55 lakh (about $75,000 at current exchange rates). It will be interesting to see how many buyers will be willing to pay that kind of money for an EV, but given Tesla’s widespread popularity, early adopters are eager to get their hands on the Model 3.
Needless to say, if Tesla eventually decides to make the Model 3 locally, the asking price should significantly go down, but it all depends on whether the initial customer feedback is going to be positive. Elon Musk has promised a cheaper EV is planned to slot below the Model 3, but it will take about three years to hit the market. This new model would be perfect for emerging markets like India, but it’ll be a long wait.