On June 15, the electric auto company's founder and CEO Elon Musk tweeted that Tesla was seeking temporary relief from import duties in India, presumably so it can start selling in the country sooner, and at more affordable prices.
In February 2017, Musk had tweeted saying Tesla was looking at a "summer" 2017 launch in the Indian market, which of course doesn't seem possible now.
"In discussions with the government of India requesting temporary relief on import penalties/restrictions until a local factory is built". "Foreign or local electric cars (EVs) will grow in India only when there's price parity with its internal combustion engine (ICE) equivalent".
One of the ways the country plans to clean up, even as it expands its developing energy infrastructure, is by encouraging more EV use over traditional gasoline cars. He'd mentioned that Tesla would come to India by the end of 2017, sadly that plan changed and another tweet just last month, didn't bring the best of news. "Maybe I'm misinformed, but I was told that 30% of parts must be locally sourced and the supply doesn't yet exist in India to support that", Musk tweeted.
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It's slated to be the third-largest vehicle market even before that, some time around 2020 according to the India Brand Equity Foundation.
India's passenger vehicle segment witnessed the most growth in the 2016 fiscal year, but two-wheelers still secure the most widespread adoption.
India could be a key market for Tesla. Tesla has no manufacturing base in India and so till it builds one, all cars coming to India will come as CBUs (Completely Built Units). Prime Minister Narendra Modi while on his United States trip far back in 2015 has also visited Tesla Facility.
The company was also said to be in talks with the Indian government to rationalize import duty on electric cars and was seeking to develop a separate category for electric vehicles.