The future of travel is going to be electric-based and India will be hopping the bandwagon sooner than you think. Speaking at the Indian Express Idea Exchange programme, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways professed Tesla’s arrival in the country by early 2021. He said the US company will “start operations” with sales first, and probably follow it with assembly and manufacturing depending on market response.

This lines up with what Tesla CEO Elon Musk had shared with the Tesla Club India on two earlier occasions.

The first model to launch in India is said to be Model 3, the cheapest of Tesla vehicles. This car currently starts to the north of $74,739 (~₹55 lakhs).

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The bookings are expected to begin in January and the sales will commence later down in H2, 2021. The shipments are likely to come from abroad while the sales will be handled by the company itself.

Now, you may not look at this through rose-tinted glasses and rather through a lens of skepticism. Tesla is yet to appease those Indians who paid a $1000 deposit back in 2016. Those early adopters currently stand dissuaded and are still awaiting their Teslas. Musk’s response (via Twitter) was, “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”. So, he pinned the blame on Indian FDI regulations.

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But, this time things seem to be different as the Union Minister himself has made the revelation. Mr. Gadkari has said, “India is going to become a number 1 manufacturing hub for auto in five years.” He also emphasized the role of up and coming Indian EV startups in bringing both affordability and technical expertise to the table. Moreover, according to market gurus, Tesla is doing research and site hunting for setting up its manufacturing unit in India.

So, could 2021 be the year when Tesla finally hit the Indian roads? What do you think?


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