Elon Musk Says Tesla to Enter India ‘Next Year’

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On Friday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the automaker was planning to enter the Indian market in 2021. “Next year for sure,” Musk said in a Twitter response that included a photograph of a T-shirt indicating that “India Wants/Loves Tesla.”

The original poster is probably correct in that assumption, too. While Indian vehicle prices average around the U.S. equivalent of $7,400, many models can be had for far cheaper. Vehicle ownership is also extremely limited, with only around 25 in 1,000 people able to afford one. But Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the nation had a plan to ensure 15 percent of all new vehicle sales were electric by 2023.

That sounded insanely ambitious to our years when we first heard it in 2018, especially considering India’s original plan called for the same number by 2030 and seemed similarly unrealistic. Central planning rarely goes as mapped but it’s all the rage in most nations now that it can be tied to progressive looking environmental reforms.

But it’s what India wants and, with Tesla being the top dog in delivering desirable electric vehicles, there’s little reason to think the nation won’t attempt to cut it a favorable deal once there’s something on the table. At present, the country strategy plans limit the registrations of gasoline and diesel cars and incentivize the sale of electric vehicles  primarily those used for commercial or government-owned fleets.

While there was never much talk about subsiding privately owned EVs, Indian manufacturers are practically begging the government to help incentivize purchasing as the once-growing market has stagnated after the pandemic. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Elon Musk is famously “optimistic” which his predictions. In fact, there’s always the faint aroma of bullshit circulating throughout the automotive industry and it’s currently concentrated among the electric vehicle brands. Even though Tesla appears to be among the most trustworthy, and has proven it can deliver on the truly important promises, getting things going in India by next year would be quite the achievement. Besides, Musk already said he wanted to open shop in India both 2019 and 2020.

The company’s cheapest product also runs about $35,000 here in North America, which seems steep for everyone but the most affluent Indians. But it has developed more affordable versions of the Model 3 for the Chinese market (wow, thanks for the hookup) and claims improvements in its own battery technologies and manufacturing strategies will allow for a $25,000 electric car in just three years. Though that might not matter as Twitter users responding to Musk’s India comment said they’d happily sell their wives to gain access to Tesla products.

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