As India’s electric car segment continues to gain traction, the Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari says Tesla is welcome to manufacture them in the country and the carmaker is eligible for subsidies only if it is locally produced.
Speaking at the Financial Express CFO awards, Gadkari clarified that “Tesla is welcome to set up its manufacturing plant in India. The carmaker is eligible for subsidies and discounts, however, that is only if the cars are made in India, not built in China and brought here,” said the Minister.
The US electric carmaker had big plans for India back in 2016 and wanted to take advantage of India’s nascent EV market, but what looked like a dream plan stayed as a dream. The carmaker wanted to first import fully-built units to India from China, but the government denied lower tax tariffs until Tesla committed to building cars here.
Tesla initially had plans to launch several models in India, including the Model 3. The carmaker even started accepting bookings for the electric sedan and many even paid the booking amount, only to go through a lengthy wait time followed by a battle to get their money back.
The carmaker even set up its management team in India, hiring top names from the industry such as Manuj Khurana, Samir Jain, Nishanth, Chitra Thomas, Prasanth Menon, Nitika Chabbra, Sandeep Pannu, Nithin George Thomas, Vaibhav Taneja, Venkat Sreeram, and David Feinstein.
The US EV maker was in search of land to set up dealerships and service centres in big cities like Delhi, Bangalore, and Mumbai before putting its plans on hold. Later, the carmaker moved most of its team to Dubai to overlook operations in the middle east.