US-based EV maker Tesla will begin operations in India in early 2021, Union Minister for Road and Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said at an Indian Express event on Monday. The BJP leader said Tesla will kick off operations firstly with sales and then look at the possibilities of assembly and manufacturing later on depending upon the response in the country.
Back in October, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had hinted that the company will come to India in 2021. "Next year for sure," Musk had said in response to a tweet about the company's progress in India. Meanwhile, the Maharashtra government had also invited Tesla in the state as it held discussions with the company.
According to some reports, Tesla Model 3 will be the first to be introduced in India. Bookings for the same could start in a few weeks. The completely built units will be imported and likely to be priced Rs 55 lakh onwards.
In 2016, Tesla had collected $1000 deposit from interested buyers in India. However, some of them were still waiting for their cars. Then in 2017, Musk said his cars could come to India in the summer, but later blamed FDI norms for the delay. "Maybe I am 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," he had said in a tweet.
An Avendus Capital report in July this year had forecast that the Indian EV market could be a Rs 50,000 crore opportunity by 2025. Factors such as policies, battery cost, charging infrastructure and supply chain as well as localization are expected to drive the adoption of EVs in various segments in the country over the next decade, the report noted.