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At Rs 37 lakh, Tesla Model 3 could actually race well in India

Even if it is imported as a completely built unit (not assembled in India), the car would be affordable to a big segment of Indians. If it is assembled in India, it would become ‘almost’ cheap, even for a luxury sedan

autos Updated: Apr 04, 2016 13:56 IST
HT Correspondent
Tesla’s Model 3 sedan at its launch in Hawthorne, California last week
Tesla’s Model 3 sedan at its launch in Hawthorne, California last week(AP)

Tesla Model 3, the most sought after of all electric cars hitherto, is set to arrive in India next year. With a US sticker price of $35,000 (about Rs 23 lakh), the final on-road price in India would depend on how Tesla wishes to present this car in India.

If the car is brought to India in parts and assembled here, the import duty would vary between 10% and 30%, depending on the level of assembling done in the country. However, if the car is launched in India as a completely built unit (with no indigenous assembly or manufacturing) the on-road price would rise by 60% -- the import duty applicable for all imported cars priced below $40,000. At that level of tariffs, the Tesla Model 3 could land on Indian shores with a price-tag of around Rs 37 lakh.

Pre-ordering of the car started earlier this week, and saw quite a lot of interest in India. Some of Tesla’s fans in India announced their interest on social media through the week. Gaming entrepreneur Vishal Gondal, investor Mahesh Murthy, Chetan Maini, the founder of Reva Electric Car Company (India's first electric carmaker), and Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the founder of digital payment company Paytm, were among the few who have already shelled out the $1,000 booking amount in India.

People queue up at a Tesla Motors dealership in La Jolla, California to book the company’s mid-priced Model 3 electric car, launched last week (REUTERS)

This car makes sense

Tarun Mehta, co-founder of Ather Energy, which is planning to launch a range of lithium-ion battery-driven electric scooters early next year, believes Tesla has got the price right.A final road price of Rs 37 lakh could draw as many as 10,000 buyers in India, he said. “It’s a phenomenal car with a great range and features. People do know that electric is the future and will like to be associated with this,” he said.

If the price is below Rs 30 lakh, the Model 3 could well flood the Indian market, he felt.

Electric cars are not popular in India, and had negligible representation in the 27 lakh cars sold in 2015.Tesla may

“We have record CO2 levels,” said Tesla’s founder Elon Musk at this week’sTesla Model 3launch in California. “We recently passed over 403 parts-per million of CO2 in the atmosphere. The last time there was this level of carbon concentration was 11 million yearsago. Approximately when primates starting walking upright,” he said.

Besides the price, the real challenge for electric cars is the charging infrastructure that will have to go with sales network. Tesla is expected to set up a supercharger network in India.

Also read | Tesla shares turbocharge as Model 3 booking orders race past estimates