Tesla will apparently establish a manufacturing site in India as it looks to enter the local market this year.
A government document issued in the southern Indian state of Karnataka states that Tesla will open an electric car manufacturing unit in the state. This news comes not long after the car manufacturer incorporated Tesla Motors India and Energy Private Limited with its registered office in the Karnataka city of Bengaluru.
A since-deleted tweet from State Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa suggested the Tesla facility will start its local operations with a research and development unit in Bengaluru. Neither Tesla nor the office of the Karnataka state chief minister have responded to requests from Reuters to comment on the story.
India’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari revealed to the media in late December 2020 that Tesla will begin selling its vehicles in the country in 2021 and then decide on the possibility of local assembly and manufacturing.
Electric vehicles are only selling in tiny numbers in India. In fact, just 3,400 EVs were sold across the country in 2019 compared to the 1.7 million ICE passenger cars over the same period.
Tesla will initially offer the Model 3 in India ,but it won’t be cheap. Prices are expected to start at over 5.5 million Indian rupees (~$76,000), meaning the car will be out of reach for the vast majority of new car buyers. It seems likely that Tesla’s planned $25,000 EV will sell in higher numbers if sold locally in the future.