Tesla remains silent; has not yet disclosed its plans for India, says official

Tesla remains silent; has not yet disclosed its plans for India, says official

Elon Musk, the American tech billionaire, was set to visit India on April 21-22 but postponed the trip at the last minute due to "significant Tesla commitments."

An official stated on Friday that US electric carmaker Tesla has remained silent and has not yet communicated its plans for India to the government under the new EV policy. American tech billionaire Elon Musk, who was set to visit India on April 21-22, postponed his trip at the last moment, citing "very heavy Tesla obligations."

Elon Musk, the CEO of the electric car manufacturer Tesla, was also scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit.

"They (Tesla) have been completely silent. The (EV) policy was always intended for everyone," the official said when asked if the company had shared its plans with the government.

The companies make the commercial decisions, the official added.

An email inquiry sent to Tesla went without a response.

In an earlier post on X in April, he affirmed his upcoming trip to India, stating,  "Excited about the opportunity to meet Prime Minister @NarendraModi in India."

In June of the previous year, Musk rendezvoused with Modi during the latter's trip to the US, affirming his intention to journey to India in 2024. He voiced assurance that Tesla would imminently penetrate the Indian market.

His anticipated arrival had stirred hopes of an announcement regarding Tesla's intentions to establish a presence in the nation, alongside his satellite communications project, Starlink.

It was anticipated that Musk would unveil Tesla's intentions to establish a manufacturing facility in India, along with significant investments potentially totaling billions of dollars. Additionally, plans for the prompt introduction of Tesla electric vehicles to the Indian market were eagerly awaited.

In addition to electric cars, he's also setting his sights on the Indian market for his Starlink satellite internet business, eagerly anticipating regulatory approvals.

In the past, Musk has advocated for a reduction in import duties in India in order to facilitate the sale of Tesla cars in the country.

His anticipated trip to India follows closely on the heels of the government's unveiling of a fresh electric vehicle (EV) policy. This policy offers import duty concessions to firms establishing manufacturing facilities within the country, provided they invest a minimum of USD 500 million. The objective is to entice major international players like Tesla.

Recently, an emissary from Tesla, The Asia Group (TAG), participated in the inaugural stakeholders' assembly regarding the new EV policy. This meeting saw representatives from various industry giants in India, such as Maruti Suzuki, Hyundai, Tata, Mahindra, Kia, Skoda Auto Volkswagen India, Renault, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi, along with counterparts from Vietnam's VinFast, all converging to provide insights for drafting the guidelines of the EV manufacturing policy.

According to this policy, companies establishing EV passenger car manufacturing facilities will enjoy reduced customs/import duty, set at 15 percent, for vehicles valued at USD 35,000 and above. This concession will apply for five years from the issuance of the government's approval letter.

Presently, completely built units (CBUs) imported into India attract customs duties ranging from 70 percent to 100 percent, contingent upon engine size and cost. CBUs with a CIF value exceeding USD 40,000 are subjected to a 100 percent import duty for petrol engines above 3000 cc and diesel engines above 2500 cc. Those valued under USD 40,000 incur a 70 percent duty for petrol engines below 3000 cc and diesel engines below 2500 cc.

The new EV policy aims to position India as a premier manufacturing hub for EVs and allure investments from esteemed global manufacturers. Notably, Tesla had approached the Indian government last year seeking duty reductions for importing its vehicles.

The article is excerpted from economictimes.
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