Tesla reportedly meeting with Indian commerce minister as it looks to build domestic hub for low-cost car for domestic and export markets
Tesla is reportedly sending representatives to meet with India commerce minister Piyush Goyal this month as the electric carmaker discusses plans to construct vehicle and battery plants in the country.
The upcoming discussions specifically concern a factory for a planned new Tesla model that would be priced at 2 million rupees ($24,500, £19,000), Reuters reported.
The price is higher than other EVs in India but is relatively low for Tesla and is part of the company’s strategy of gradually introducing higher-volume, lower-priced vehicles.
At its upcoming meeting the company is planning to discuss setting up a supply chain for EV manufacturing and land allotment for a factory, the news agency said, citing unnamed sources.
Earlier this month the Times of India reported that Tesla was in discussions with the Indian government about setting up a factory with a capacity of about half a million EVs per year for the domestic market as well as for export to the Indo-Pacific region.
The 2 million rupee starting price reported by the Times is more than double that of the country’s cheapest EV, the MG Comet, and is half a million more than India’s top-selling electric car, the Tata Nexon EV.
The price is however 25 percent lower than Tesla’s current lowest-priced car, the Model 3 that sells for just over $32,200 in China.
The talks began in May after the Indian government last year refused to lower import fees to allow Tesla to sell cars manufactured elsewhere more cheaply.
At the time Tesla officials visited India to discuss creating a manufacturing facility for cars and batteries there.
In June Tesla chief executive Elon Musk met Indian prime minister Narendra Modi and said he was planning a significant investment in the country.
Domestic company Ola Electric said in February it is planning to build a large EV hub in Tamil Nadu to produce electric two-wheelers, cars and battery cells.
Tesla is currently building a plant in Mexico that is planned to manufacture vehicles using a next-generation platform that cuts production costs by 50 percent and is intended for lower-cost, high-volume cars.
The firm’s biggest plant in Shanghai produces nearly 40 percent of its output. It also has plants in Berlin, California and Texas.