Musk wants to bring Tesla to India, blames high import duties

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SHANGHAI, Jan. 7, 2019 (Xinhua) -- Tesla CEO Elon Musk speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony of Tesla Shanghai Gigafactory in Shanghai, east China, Jan. 7, 2019. U.S. electric carmaker Tesla Inc. on Monday broke ground on its Shanghai factory, becoming the first to benefit from a new policy allowing foreign carmakers to set up wholly-owned subsidiaries in China. The new plant, Tesla's first outside the United States, is located in Lingang Area, a high-end manufacturing park in the southeast harbor of Shanghai. It is designed with an annual capacity of 500,000 electric cars. Tesla signed the agreement with the Shanghai municipal government in July 2018 to build the factory. In October, the company was approved to use an 864,885-square-meter tract of land in Lingang for its Shanghai plant. (Xinhua/Ding Ting/IANS)

New Delhi, July 25 – Tesla CEO Elon Musk said that its electric vehicle (EV) company wants to launch cars in India, but the country’s import duties on EVs are “highest in the world by far”.

Replying to an Indian YouTuber on Twitter, who asked him to launch Tesla cars ASAP in India, Musk blamed high import rates in the country.

“We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!” he wrote.

“Moreover, clean energy vehicles are treated the same as diesel or petrol, which does not seem entirely consistent with the climate goals of India,” he added.

Last year, a report said that India has taken a slew of measures to promote the use of electric cars in the country.

The government 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 earlier said 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 year in July cut the tax on electric vehicles (EV) from 12 per cent to 5 per cent, effective August 1, 2019.

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

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