Karnataka on Tuesday joined a growing list of Indian states wooing Tesla’s billionaire founder Elon Musk to start a manufacturing unit.
“With over 400 R&D centres, 45+ EV startups & an EV cluster near Bengaluru, Karnataka has emerged as EV hub of India. Mr Elon Musk, Karnataka would be an ideal destination to set up Tesla plant. Bengaluru is already Tesla’s maiden address in India,” ” Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani said in a tweet.
With over 400 R&D centres, 45+ EV startups & an EV cluster near Bengaluru, Karnataka has emerged as EV hub of India. Mr @elonmusk, Karnataka would be an ideal destination to set up @Tesla plant. Bengaluru is already Tesla’s maiden address in India. @CMofKarnataka @BSBommai
— Dr. Murugesh R Nirani (@NiraniMurugesh) January 18, 2022
With this, Karnataka has joined Telangana, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Punjab and Tamil Nadu in inviting Musk to India after the Tesla CEO tweeted that there are challenges with entering the country.
“Still working through a lot of challenges with the government,” Musk tweeted. Musk was replying to a Twitter user, who asked: “Yo @elonmusk any further update as to when Tesla’s will launch in India? They’re pretty awesome and deserve to be in every corner of the world!”
In January last year, Tesla registered its subsidiary Tesla India Motors and Energy Private Ltd in Bengaluru. The then Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa had tweeted that the electric car giant would open its R&D unit in the state capital. But, the tweet was quickly deleted.
In February 2021, Yediyurappa had said in a statement: “American firm Tesla will open its electric car manufacturing unit in Karnataka.”
While the Texas-based company has been intending to sell its “eco-friendly” cars in India for some time now, the high import duties India levies on fully assembled cars is stated as a deterrent.
The duty on completely built EVs costing $40,000 or less is 60% while it would shoot up to 100 per cent for anything costlier. Tesla understandably thinks the premium price could dissuade the cost-conscious Indian consumer.
And given the fledgling state the electric vehicle environment is in the country, Tesla, analysts believe, would opt to test the market first with exported cars coming with an attractive rate tag.