‘Too many challenges with the government’: Elon Musk on Tesla’s India launch

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that Tesla is facing “many challenges” with the Indian government to launch its cars in the country. Tesla’s boss was responding to a user named Pranay Pathole who asked him about the company’s car launch in India. Pathole also said that these cars are “awesome and worth living in every corner of the world.”

Twitter users sympathized with Musk, saying the Indian market is particularly difficult for foreign players to enter and trace. “Many people do not understand all the complexities associated with entering the Indian market. The government of the country does not want to show enough flexibility, which is sad. Hope you can come to a consensus,” commented a user.

Another user said, “Governments like Germany and India are going to slow their countries’ progress in exponential technologies. In 10 years it should be clear which governments suppressed innovation.”

For the unversed, Tesla has sought an import tax exemption on electric vehicles before entering the market. In a letter to the Roads Ministry, the Elon Musk-led firm had said the effective import duty of 110 percent on vehicles with customs duties over $40,000 is “prohibitive” for zero-emissions vehicles.

Tesla urged the government to standardize tariffs on electric cars to 40 percent and roll back the social welfare surcharge of 10 percent on electric cars. It is further said that these changes will spur the growth of the Indian EV ecosystem. Tesla also mentioned that it will make significant direct investments in sales, service and charging infrastructure and will significantly increase purchases from India for its global operations.

After this, Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari also said that he has urged Tesla several times to manufacture its electric vehicles in India while assuring that the company will be provided all possible assistance by the government. NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar had also urged Tesla to manufacture its electric vehicles in India while assuring all tax benefits from the government. Kumar also said that Tesla should not only ship its products to the country as it will not create jobs.

“Come and build in India, you (Tesla) will get all the tax benefits,” Kumar said while speaking at a virtual conference of the Public Affairs Forum of India (PAFI). “The argument that we will create a market in India by exporting finished products… is an old argument and we have gone beyond that,” he said.

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