New Delhi, May 16 (IANS) As outgoing Twitter CEO Elon Musk found butter chicken and naan ‘insanely good,’ a team of senior Tesla executives is reportedly planning to visit India this week to explore entering the niche EV market and expand its footprint beyond China.
According to a Bloomberg report, citing sources, the Tesla executives are expected to meet officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office.
“The discussions will revolve around the possibility of local sourcing of components for Tesla’s car models,” the report noted.
Whether Musk will accompany the team was not clear yet, as he gears up to hand over the Twitter baton to Linda Yaccarino, former Chairman of Global Advertising and Partnerships at NBC Universal, and “devote more time to Tesla” and bring it back on course.
The visit by Tesla executives comes at a time when the country is betting big on EV adoption.
With the friendly government policies and new entrants arriving on the scene with cheaper EVs, the country is set to witness a plethora of options in the next 2-3 years.
Industry experts expect that passenger car EV penetration will cross 21 per cent by 2027 from 1.3 per cent in 2022.
However, Musk has time and again said that he faced challenges from the government for releasing its products in India. “Tesla isn’t in India yet due to “Challenges with the government,” he had posted.
The team he hired in India in 2021 was diverted to focus on the Middle-East and the larger Asia-Pacific markets last year.
Several top Indian leaders made repeated appeals to Musk to bring Tesla to India but to no avail.
Currently, India levies 100 per cent tax on the imported cars of price more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh), inclusive of insurance and shipping expenses, and cars less than $40,000 are subject to 60 per cent import tax.
With a $40,000 (over Rs 30 lakh) price tag, Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh.
Musk has said that he wants to launch cars in India but the country’s import duties on EVs are “highest in the world by far”.