Kant said, "Tesla's duty cut proposal is under inter-ministerial review. The challenge is to see whether electric vehicles as a luxury vehicle which costs $40,000."
NITI Aayog chief executive officer Amitabh Kant on Saturday said the Narendra Modi government is considering US electric vehicle maker Tesla's proposal for a reduction in import duty to enter India.
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In an exclusive interview to CNBC-TV18, Kant said, "Tesla's duty cut proposal is under inter-ministerial review. The challenge is to see whether electric vehicles as a luxury vehicle which costs $40,000."
With a $39,990 global price tag, Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it would become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price tag of around Rs 60 lakh.
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Kant said the challenge is Tesla models are not capable of being assembled, they come in a particular form but discussions are on with the company.
"India's objective is to ensure Tesla makes in India for the world. However, the US company wants to test the market first to decide to invest in India," he added.
Currently, India levies 100 percent tax on imported cars of price more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh) inclusive of insurance and shipping expenses, and cars less than $40,000 are subject to 60 percent import tax.
Earlier in a letter to the road ministry in September, the US firm had stated that the effective import tariff of 110 percent on vehicles with customs value above $40,000 is "prohibitive" to zero-emission vehicles. It has requested the government to standardize the tariff on electric cars to 40 percent irrespective of the customs value, and withdraw the social welfare surcharge of 10 percent on electric cars.
It has been stated that these changes would boost the development of the Indian EV ecosystem and the company will make significant direct investments in sales, service, and charging infrastructure; and significantly increase procurement from India for its global operations.
The company has argued that these proposals would not have any negative impact on the Indian automotive market as no Indian OEM currently produces a car (EV or ICE) with ex-factory price above $40,000 and only 1-2 percent of cars sold in India (EV or ICE) have ex-factory/customs value above $40,000.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari had said Tesla has a golden opportunity to set up its manufacturing facility in India given the country's thrust on e-vehicles.
Tesla is already sourcing various auto components from Indian automakers and setting up base here would be economically viable for it, the road transport and highways minister had said.
(Edited by : Jomy Jos Pullokaran)
First Published: IST