Slowly but surely, Tesla Motors is going global, having launched the Model S in both China and Australia this year alone. Speculation had suggested India might be next for Tesla, but it won’t be the Model S that launches in the land of curry and sacred cows, but rather the upcoming Model III, which one Tesla exec priced between $30,000 and $40,000 when it launches.
Jay Vijayan, chief information officer at Tesla Motors, told the Economic Times India that Tesla’s “target price for Model 3 is in the range of $30,000 to $40,000.” Because of India’s crazy-high import duty tax though, to import the Model S would more than double the price, as the electric luxury car is subject to a 125% import duty tax. While many European countries have similarly high taxes or luxury vehicles, these countries often make an exception for electric cars, though India is currently an exception to the rule.
Vijayan’s comments about the price also indicate that Tesla is still trying to keep its promise of a $35,000 electric car, but it seems like maybe they’re not quite there yet. Elon Musk’s confidence notwithstanding, there’s plenty of analysts who say any electric car with 200+ miles of driving range is simply going to be more expensive than Tesla’s predictions. Unless Indian politicians change their import duties though, the first Tesla might not arrive until the Model III is ready to go.
India also presents its own set of problems for Tesla, including an unreliable electrical infrastructure, a small fraction of the charging stations needed, and a population that by and large can’t even afford the world’s cheapest car. Electric car sales can only be described as laughably small, making it apparent that India is hardly ready for a conversion to electric vehicles.
But there’s also a ton of potential for growth too, as India is becoming a growing economic power house that absolutely must embrace sustainable energy if it wants to survive the coming century. And these days there are few signs you’ve truly “made it” as a brand new Tesla in your garage.