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High Import Duties Keeping Tesla off Indian Roads, Says Elon Musk

Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000

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Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Breaking silence over his India plans, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has blamed high import duties on electric cars for blocking the entry of Tesla vehicles in the country.

India has taken a slew of measures to promote the use of electric cars in the country. It recently slashed Goods and services tax (GST) on electric vehicles to five per cent from earlier 12 per cent but to protect domestic automakers, it levies 125 per cent duty on imported vehicles.

“I’m told import duties are extremely high (up to 100 per cent), even for electric cars. This would make our cars unaffordable,” Musk said late Thursday while responding to a tweet from an Indian follower.

Close on the heels of Union Budget providing tax relief for buying electric vehicles, the GST Council in its meeting last month cut the tax on electric vehicles (EV) from 12 per cent to 5 per cent, effective August 1, 2019.

The council has also slashed rate for EV chargers from 18 per cent to 5 per cent, making electric vehicle affordable for the buyers.

The twin rate cuts are set to further boost the EV sector. The Budget on July 5 had proposed Income Tax deduction of Rs 1.5 lakh on the interest paid on the loans taken to purchase electric vehicles.

This is a major push to the electric vehicles which has so far seen lukewarm response due to high ownership cost and insufficient infrastructure in the country. Not surprisingly, the share of electric vehicles out of total annual vehicle sales in the country is less than 1 per cent.

Electric car problems
Jeff Solie plugs in his electric car Tesla sedan at his home, in New Berlin, Wis., July 13, 2017. Electric cars are seeing growing support around the world. But there’s a problem: There aren’t enough places to plug those cars in. VOA

However, the Modi government is committed to transform the transport sector by promoting the use of green cars and bikes.

Musk, who has been trying to come to India for the past couple of years, told a visiting group of IIT Madras students last month that Tesla may run on Indian roads in 2020.

Musk tweeted in March this year that he would love to be in India in 2019 or next year.

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“Would love to be there this year. If not, definitely next! India,” Musk tweeted. He blamed government policies, including FDI norms, for giving up on his India dreams.

Earlier this year, Tesla’s Indian-origin Chief Financial Officer Deepak Ahuja announced his retirement from the firm, bringing Musk’s India dream to a halt again.

Tesla was expected to enter India with the Model 3 that sells for nearly $35,000. (IANS)

Next Story

Elon Musk Relaunches Tesla Solar Panel Business

In June, Musk tweeted that he hoped to manufacture about 1,000 solar rooftops a week by the end of 2019

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Tesla CEO Elon musk, board
Tesla CEO Elon Musk. (VOA)

Multi-billionaire tech mogul Elon Musk has relaunched Tesla’s solar panel services, claiming that it could save a user about $500 a year.

Musk took to Twitter on Sunday to ask followers what they thought about the relaunch.

“Lmk what you think,” wrote the entrepreneur with a link to the new website.

Besides California, solar panel rentals would be offered in Arizona, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New Mexico, Engadget reported on Sunday.

tesla
Visitors inspect Tesla electric cars at Brussels Motor Show, Belgium, Jan. 18, 2019. VOA

According to Tesla’s website, one can rent solar power panels or solar roofs for as little as $50 a month and that cost included panel installation, hardware, and ongoing maintenance.

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Musk said consumers could cancel anytime, although according to the Tesla website, there was a $1,500 charge to remove panels and restore the roof to its previous condition.

In June, Musk tweeted that he hoped to manufacture about 1,000 solar rooftops a week by the end of 2019. (IANS)