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Tesla remains silent on India entry despite favorable policy, says official

Despite a seemingly favorable new electric vehicle (EV) policy in India and a planned visit from CEO Elon Musk, Tesla remains tight-lipped about its plans for the Indian market. The silence has Indian officials scratching their heads, with some expressing disappointment at the lack of communication.

A policy designed to attract Tesla?

In April 2024, the Indian government unveiled a revised electric vehicle policy offering significant import duty reductions to companies setting up manufacturing units in the country. The policy shift was widely seen as an attempt to attract major global players like Tesla, which had previously called for a reduction in import duties to make its cars more affordable in India.

Musk’s postponed visit fuels speculation

Elon Musk’s planned visit to India in April 2024 added to the intrigue. Scheduled to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there was speculation that the visit would involve a formal announcement regarding Tesla’s entry into the Indian market. However, Musk abruptly postponed the visit, citing “Tesla’s very onerous obligations.”

Executive expresses disappointment with Tesla’s silence

An anonymous Indian official expressed disappointment with Tesla’s lack of communication following the political announcement and Musk’s postponed visit. They emphasized that the new policy was designed to be inclusive and attractive to all electric vehicle manufacturers, not just Tesla. The official further said that the responsibility of announcing the plans lies with the companies themselves.

Potential reasons for Tesla’s silence

Several reasons could explain Tesla’s silence. The company may still be evaluating the new policy and its feasibility in the Indian market. Setting up a manufacturing plant in India would require significant investment, and Tesla may want to think carefully about the long-term viability of such a move. Additionally, Tesla could face internal production issues or focus its efforts on other global markets.

Challenges Tesla May Face in India

Even with the revised policy, Tesla would face hurdles in the Indian market. The country’s electric vehicle charging infrastructure is still in its infancy, which could deter potential customers. Additionally, high import duties on Completely Built Units (CBUs) would make Tesla cars expensive compared to locally produced options. Despite the current silence, there is still hope for Tesla’s possible entry into the Indian market. The revised policy demonstrates a commitment to driving adoption of electric vehicles, and Tesla’s technology and brand recognition could be a major asset to India’s electric vehicle landscape.

What this means for Indian consumers

Indian consumers eager for Tesla vehicles currently face limited options. With no official announcement, it is difficult to predict when or if Tesla cars will be available in India. However, ongoing developments suggest that the Indian electric vehicle market is on the rise, potentially providing consumers with a wider range of electric vehicle choices in the near future.

The Indian government and potential customers will likely have to take a wait-and-see approach regarding Tesla’s plans in India. Even though the new policy has opened doors, the final decision regarding market entry rests with Tesla. It remains to be seen whether Tesla will decide to capitalize on this opportunity and establish a presence in India. The coming months may shed more light on Tesla’s intentions, but for now, the electric car maker is remaining tight-lipped, leaving the Indian electric vehicle market eagerly anticipating its next move.