New Delhi — Tesla “is tackling a number of challenges with the government” in India, Billionaire CEO Elon Musk asked on Twitter Thursday about when to launch an electric vehicle in the country. Answered.
Tesla plans to start selling imported cars in India last year, urging the government to reduce import taxes on electric vehicles (EVs) before it enters the market. In October, he made a request to the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
Musk did not identify the “issues” he was working on in his Twitter post.
The Indian market for premium EVs is still in its infancy and there is a shortage of charging infrastructure. Of the 2.4 million cars sold in India last year, only 5,000 were electric cars, of which only a handful were luxury cars.
India imposes a 100% high import tax on imported cars, including EVs. It states that musk was previously the highest in the world. Analysts say Tesla cars are too expensive for many buyers at these rates, putting pressure on sales.
Tesla’s demand for tax cuts has prompted opposition from some local players that such a move would discourage investment in domestic manufacturing.
Indian government officials are also divided on the demands of US automakers. Some officials want the company to commit to local manufacturing before considering tax incentives, but Tesla says it wants to experiment with imports first.
Luxury car maker Mercedes-Benz will begin assembling the electric version of its flagship S-class sedan, the EQS, in India later this year, despite Tesla refraining from reducing import tariffs.