“Tesla is free to come in and put up a shop here and sell its cars,” Aggarwal told the London-based business publication Financial Times. “They just want to be treated differently from others, which I believe is not in the interests of India.”
The Elon Musk run-company had a keen interest in entering the Indian market, but the company’s demand for lower import duties has led to a tussle with the Indian government, causing it to halt its plans. Musk tweeted about his lack of interest in setting up a plant in India in May.
Tesla wants to import and sell its cars in India first before manufacturing here. The company is known to lobby governments around the world for special incentives. In China, for example, Tesla has been able to start operations without having to partner with a local company, which has been the law in the country for many years.
The company’s first hire in India was Manuj Khurana, who joined as public policy head in 2021 to lead its lobbying efforts. But Reuters reported in June that Khurana had left the company, indicating that the company’s plans to enter India had stalled. ET reported on May 5 that
Tesla had re-assigned all of its employees to work for the larger Asia Pacific market.
Ola Electric, meanwhile, is working on an electric car project and Aggarwal gave a sneak peek of it at a recent event in Bengaluru. The company is scouting for land in various states to manufacture the car and its own lithium-ion battery cells. Currently, all Indian EV makers import cells from other countries.
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The recent spate of electric vehicle fires, one involving an Ola scooter, has not helped the company, which has seen its sales drop significantly month-on-month.
ET reported on June 24 that the company has been selling only 130-200 scooters a day, way off its ambition of making 10 million scooters a year.