Musk ignores government calls as India’s Tesla team moves to other markets, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

NEW DELHI: As union ministers continue to call Tesla CEO Elon Musk to attend and manufacture electric cars in India, he is more interested in Twitter’s $44 billion takeover of Twitter than paying attention to what the Indian government has been repeating now for months.His utter lack of interest in responding to the many requests made by the Indian government, particularly by Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, follows reports that the team he appointed in India last year has now been shifted to focus on the East-East. The largest market is Asia Pacific.

Nishant Prasad, who is responsible for creating the Tesla supercharger network in India, has updated his LinkedIn profile to Charging Operations Lead-APAC.

Manoj Khurana, who was Tesla India’s first employee responsible for public policy and business development, moved to California last month to take on the producer role.

Musk’s Tesla move appears to have been retaliation because the Indian government did not accept Musk’s request to reduce import duties on Tesla cars.

From Telangana’s Minister of Industry, KT Rama Rao, to Maharashtra State Minister and state National Congress Party Chairman Jayant Patel, many Indian leaders have made repeated pleas to Musk to bring Tesla to India but to no avail.

During last month’s “Raisina Dialogue 2022”, Gadkari said that if Musk wanted to manufacture in China and sell Tesla cars here, it “couldn’t be a good show for India”.

“We asked him to come to India and manufacture here. We don’t have problems. Vendors are there, we introduce all kinds of technology and because of that, Mask can reduce the cost.

“India is a huge market and offers good export opportunities as well. Musk can export Tesla cars from India,” he told the audience.

The minister reiterated his position on Tesla manufacturing in India, earlier this month, that if Musk came to the country and made Tesla cars here, it would also benefit the electric car maker.

Earlier in February, Gadkari said Musk would have to manufacture in India first in order to put Tesla cars on the roads.

Asked about Tesla’s request to cut tariffs on electric cars, Gadkari said the state cannot placate a single car company.

Musk wrote on Twitter that he faced challenges from the government to launch its products in India. “Tesla is not in India yet because of ‘challenges with the government’,” he wrote.

Currently, India levies a 100 percent tax on imported cars over $40,000 (30,000 rupees), including insurance and freight, and cars under $40,000 are subject to a 60 percent import tax.

With a price tag of $40,000 (more than Rs 30 lakh), the Tesla Model 3 may remain as an affordable model in the US but with import duties, it will become unaffordable in the Indian market with an expected price of around Rs 60 lakh.

Musk said he wants to launch cars in India, but that import duties on electric cars in the country are “by far the highest in the world”.

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