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Elon Musk blames India’s “highest in the world” import duty for delay in Tesla launch

By Saima Siddiqui 
Updated Date

New Delhi: Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Saturday that his company wants to launch cars in India, however, the country’s import duties on electric vehicles (EVs) are “highest in the world by far”. Replying to YouTuber Madan Gowri who requested Musk to launch Tesla cars in India, he said in a tweet.

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“We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country! Moreover, clean energy vehicles are treated the same as diesel or petrol, which does not seem entirely consistent with the climate goals of India,” Musk said in the reply to the tweet.

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According to a report, Tesla, which aims to begin sales in India this year, said in a letter to ministries and the country’s leading think-tank Niti Aayog that slashing taxes on imports of fully assembled electric cars to 40% would be more appropriate, according to the sources.

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Tesla’s pitch to lower duties is likely to face resistance from PM Modi government which has championed high import taxes for many industries in a bid to boost local manufacturing.

“But we are hopeful that there will be at least a temporary tariff relief for electric vehicles. That would be much appreciated,” Musk said in another tweet.

Currently, India imposes 100 per cent import duty on fully imported cars with CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value more than USD 40,000 and 60 per cent on those costing less than the amount.

Tesla registered a local company in India in January and has ramped up local hiring.

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