Elon Musk confirms India visit, says looking forward to meet PM Modi

Source : PTI | New Delhi: American electric car maker Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Wednesday confirmed his visit to India and his planned meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In a post on X, he wrote, “Looking forward to meeting with Prime Minister @NarendraModi in India.”

Earlier in the day, sources said Musk is expected in India the week of April 22. He is likely to announce the company’s investment plans in the country during his visit, the sources said.

In June last year, Musk had met Modi during the prime minister’s US visit. The Tesla CEO had then said that he planned to visit India in 2024 while expressing confidence that the company would enter the Indian market soon.

His planned visit comes weeks after the government announced a new electric vehicle policy under which import duty concessions will be given to companies setting up manufacturing units in the country with a minimum investment of USD 500 million, a move aimed at attracting major global players like US-based Tesla.

According to the policy, the companies that would set up manufacturing facilities for EV passenger cars will be allowed to import a limited number of cars at lower customs/import duty of 15 per cent on vehicles costing USD 35,000 and above for a period of five years from the date of issuance of the approval letter by the government.

At present, cars imported as completely built units (CBUs) attract customs duty ranging from 70 per cent to 100 per cent, depending on the engine size and cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value.

CBUs whose CIF value is more than USD 40,000 attract a 100 per cent import duty (for petrol engine size more than 3000 cc and diesel engine of size more than 2500 cc). Whereas those with CIF value under USD 40,000 attract 70 per cent duty (for petrol engine size under 3000 cc and diesel engine size under 2500 cc).

The policy seeks to promote India as a manufacturing destination for EVs and attract investment from reputed global manufacturers. Last year, Tesla had approached the Indian government seeking duty cuts to import its vehicles in India.

Previously, Musk had said in 2022 that Tesla, which was earlier seeking reduction in import duties to sell its vehicles in India, would not manufacture its products unless it is allowed to first sell and service its cars in the country.

In August 2021, Musk had said that Tesla may set up a manufacturing unit in India if it first succeeds with imported vehicles in the country. He had said Tesla wanted to launch its vehicles in India “but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!”