It’s official now. The US electric carmaker Tesla will set up its first manufacturing unit in Karnataka, the chief minister of the south Indian state has confirmed.
Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa’s announcement came a month after the electric carmaker registered its first entity, its R&D centre, Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Limited, in Bengaluru. The Indian foray comes after the electric car-maker set up a plant in China, its first outside the US.
According to sources, the first Tesla likely to be launched in India is the Model-3 electric sedan, which initially will be imported till the production goes on stream.
Expected to be priced around the Rs6 million, it will be the volume driver for the carmaker. The final specifications are yet to be finalised, but the Model 3 is offered in various configurations: rear-wheel drive, long range, and performance.
Tesla didn’t immediately respond to the news.
India’s roads, transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari said in December that Tesla will begin its operations in India early this year with sales, and later venture into assembly and manufacturing of electric cars.
Tesla has focused on Bangalore because it is shaping up to be a hub for electric vehicles and aerospace manufacturing talent, industry experts said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the world’s richest man, tweeted “as promised” Tesla would enter India in January.
Tesla subsidiary, Tesla India Motors and Energy has its registered office at Lavelle Road, a business district in Bengaluru. The filing mentioned the Indian unit has three directors including David Feinstein, who is currently a senior executive at Tesla.
The EV car-maker’s move comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi is promoting the production and use of electric vehicles to reduce the country’s oil dependence and cut down on pollution. India also cut the goods and services tax on EVs to 5.0 per cent from 12 per cent, effective August 2019, much lower than the levies of as much as 28 per cent slapped on other motor vehicles.