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Tesla EVs set for India debut; Vehicles roadworthy, certifies ministry

Tesla EVs for India likely to be Model 3, Model Y variants

Indian roads would soon see the debut of American EV major Tesla’s electric vehicles. The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has received approval to manufacture or import as many as four models. Going by a post on the website of the ministry, Tesla’s vehicles have been certified as roadworthy in India by the transport ministry.

The vehicles that are gearing up to touch the Indian tarmac would most likely be the Tesla Mode 3 and Model Y variants, said a Live Mint report, which quoted a Tesla fan club’s tweet.

It has been confirmed that tests have proved that the vehicles match the requirements of the Indian market in terms of emission and safety and road worthiness.

Tesla boss had been wary of import duty

Though India is seen as a market with huge potential for electric vehicles, the country’s import duty regime has been seen as a major deterrent by foreign players. Even Tesla had been reluctant to have India in its radar owing to this scenario.

It was only last month that we had heard the American company’s Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk hopping on to Twitter to state that import duties in India are among the highest in the world and the nation treats clean energy vehicles the same as gasoline. This, according to Musk, was not consistent with India’s climate goals.

Now with the approval and roadworthy aspect spelt out by the India government, Musk might want to have go at the Indian electric car mart much more than before. He had even said that a factory in India is “quite likely” after Tesla tests the waters by importing vehicles to India.

Lack of financing options, charging infra could be hassles

The electric vehicle scene might look rosy but the reality of the moment is that EVs account for only 1% of the nation’s annual car sales. Adding to the woes is the lack of adequate charging infrastructure. Further, financing opportunities for companies who have electric car plans are also extremely rare.  All these have already made India take the back seat in its efforts to drive the electric mobility revolution.

Tesla’s cars are expensive, and so the lack of EV financing companies could make it tough for Tesla to gain a foothold in the India mart. This apart, India’s high tax regime, as mentioned earlier, could pose a major hurdle for Tesla’s plans in the country.

Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, however had been reiterating the need for transition towards electric mobility for quite some time now. Speaking at the HT Auto EV Conclave earlier this month, Gadkari had listed out the government’s sops, and called upon industry stakeholders to help make India “the world’s largest EV manufacturing and supplying hub”.

He is of the belief that there will be more electric vehicles than conventional ones in India by 2050. But then, that date is a long way off.

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Sanjeev Ramachandran

A journalist with 23 years of experience, Sanjeev has worked with reputed media houses such as Business Standard, The Ne More »
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