India is an emerging market with a rising middle class and plenty of disposable income of the new elite generation. The electronic vehicle market is trying to plant its feet in the country but when will Tesla look at this lucrative market?
Tesla is not coming to India
Tesla hasn’t talked about its plans of launching in India yet as the Indian market is relatively untouched by the EV revolution, the carmaker is avoiding it. However, things are quickly changing. Electric Vehicles (EVs) are being appreciated in India more than ever. The pioneer in this field was Chetan Maini’s Reva car launched in 2001, which were revolutionary but not a market success.
The potential for this market grows even stronger because the Indian government has recommended reducing excise duty on EVs from 12% to 5%. It is also planning to offer an income tax rebate of 1.5 lakh rupees on buying EVs along with lower customs duties on some EV spare parts. It will also provide tax incentives for local manufacturers of these spare parts. With a government push, the electric car segment could hopefully grow bigger in the country.
The Indian carmakers identify this trend because of which Mahindra bought Reva Electric Car Co. in 2010 and launched the Mahindra e20 in 2013. The Tata Tigor EV and Mahindra eVerito were some cars used by the Union government. Unfortunately, none of these vehicles have managed to make an impact on the market.
Does change mean maturity?
The Indian government could be taking hints from Norway, which has a strong government initiative for going green. Vehicles are exempt from all non-recurring fees, which include toll payments, public parking fees, annual road tax, and purchase taxes. Consequently, the country has the highest number of EV per capita.
But the problem isn’t just low consumer interest in these cars. India doesn’t have a good or even functional charging infrastructure. Volvo’s XC90, Honda Accord, and Toyota Camry are all available in hybrid versions, but their sales figures are dismal. If customers can’t charge their vehicles, why would they choose to buy an electric car?
Thankfully, Suzuki Motor Corp is tying up with Toshiba and Toyota to build batteries in Gujarat. Both car brands are planning to bring hybrids and EVs to the market by 2020-21. The market leaders are finally moving ahead and new entrant MG Motors pushing for clean energy initiatives. The biggest news, however, will be Tata Motors’ push in EV. The Jaguar parent may launch its SUV I-Pace in India in 2020 and Audi may bring its e-tron SUV in the market too.