Tesla is “still working on many government challenges,” said billionaire boss Elon Musk on Twitter on Thursday, responding to a question about when it would launch its electric cars in the country.
Tesla planned to start selling imported cars in India last year and has been campaigning with the government to lower import taxes on electric vehicles (EVs) before it goes on sale. In October, she brought her claims to the office of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India.
Musk did not identify the “challenges” that are being worked on in his Twitter post.
I am still working on many challenges with the government
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) January 12, 2022
The Indian market for premium electric vehicles is still in its infancy and the charging infrastructure is scarce. Only 5,000 of the 2.4 million cars sold in India last year were electric, including a handful of luxury models.
India imposes import tariffs of up to 100 percent on imported cars, including electric cars, which Musk previously said are among the highest in the world. Analysts have said that at these rates, Tesla cars would become too expensive for many buyers, which would hurt sales.
Tesla’s calls for tax cuts – first reported by Reuters in July – have objected to several local actors who say such a move would discourage investments in domestic manufacturing.
Indian government officials are also divided over the US automaker’s demands. Some officials want the company to commit to local manufacturing before considering tax breaks, but Tesla has indicated it wants to experiment with imports first.
While Tesla is waiting for a cut in import duties, luxury automaker Mercedes-Benz will begin assembling the electric version of its flagship S-Class sedan, the EQS, in India later this year.
© Thomson Reuters 2022
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