Tesla India becomes more feasible as gov’t announces new EV import policy

Credit: Narendra Modi/X

The Indian government has announced an updated policy for electric vehicles. The updated policy makes India friendlier to companies that wish to import EVs into the country. It also seems intended to incentivize domestic electric vehicle production and potentially lure high-profile EV makers like Tesla into the Indian market. 

India’s new EV policy offers significant privileges for companies willing to make a substantial investment in the country. Key requirements include a minimum investment of ₹4,150 crore (approximately $500 million) with no upper limit. Companies that opt to invest in India must also set up local manufacturing facilities and start domestic commercial EV production within three years.

Furthermore, the updated EV policy requires companies to reach a minimum Domestic Value Addition (DVA) of 25% within three years and 50% within a maximum of five years. DVA refers to the percentage of localized components that companies will be using to manufacture their electric vehicles in India.

Companies that are willing to meet these criteria would be allowed to import up to 8,000 electric vehicles per year at a reduced import duty of 15% if they invest $800 million or more into India. This benefit applies specifically to vehicles with a minimum CIF value of USD 35,000. This is a notable improvement from the country’s typical import taxes, which range from 70% to 100% depending on their value.

To ensure compliance with the policy’s objectives, companies must provide a bank guarantee in lieu of the custom duty forgone, as noted in an India Today report. This guarantee serves as a safety net and will be invoked if a company fails to meet the minimum investment or DVA targets.

It would not be surprising if India’s updated EV policy ends up attracting Tesla, though it remains to be seen if the EV maker would be willing to cap its imports into the country to just 8,000 units per year while it is building and ramping a production facility in the country. India’s requirements for Domestic Value Addition (DVA) would likely not be a problem for Tesla, however, considering the electric vehicle maker’s impressive localization efforts at Gigafactory Shanghai. 

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Tesla India becomes more feasible as gov’t announces new EV import policy
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