Tesla chief Elon Musk on late Friday called out India's high taxation rate (import duty) on imported cars which include electric vehicles (EVs).
Musk said on Twitter that the company wants to launch Tesla models in India as soon as possible, but "import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country! Moreover, clean energy vehicles are treated the same as diesel or petrol, which does not seem entirely consistent with the climate goals of India."
Musk also said that a factory in India was likely if the electric-car maker was successful with imported vehicles.
This comment from Musk comes amidts reports that the US carmaker lobbying heavily to seek a concession. According to reports, the company has written to Indian ministries seeking a big reduction in import duties on EVs.
Even Musk said that they are "hopeful that there will be at least a temporary tariff relief for electric vehicles. That would be much appreciated."
At present, India imposes 60 per cent duty on imported cars that are priced below $40,000 and 100 per cent for those above that figure. This makes most of the completely built unit imported cars twice as expensive as they are many foreign markets.
After years of speculations, Tesla formally entered India in January this year. It has registered with the name – ‘Tesla India Motors and Energy Pvt Ltd’ with the Registrar of Companies at Bengaluru, Karnataka.
It was then expected that Tesla, which quickly formed a Indian team and was scouting for showroom locations, would launch its most affordable offering- the Model 3 in coming months. However, the carmaker is yet to start its sales in India.
There were also reports that the Tesla, the world's most valuable automobile company, would be setting up a manufacturing plant in Karnataka. However, it was never confirmed by the company.