Tesla's India entry confirmed by Nitin Gadkari
After recent speculation of Tesla's entry to the Indian market as early as next month, Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Road, Transport and Highways, as well as MSMEs, has confirmed that the world's largest manufacturer of EVs is indeed starting its Indian operations in early 2021. As previously reported and since confirmed by Gadkari, Tesla will indeed look at setting up a sales network first, basing the decision to assemble or manufacture based on market responses. In other parts of the world, Tesla "stores" are directly owned by the company itself, with a heavy push towards online retail experiences instead of a traditional dealership model and we expect Tesla to follow a similar model here in India.
Rest assured, test drives are available for Teslas, just not usually for walk-ins at dealerships, with potential customers needing to book slots in advance online for a test drive. Tesla is most likely to bring in the Model 3 first, the most affordable vehicle in its lineup internationally, though it does stand to reason that the Model Y crossover SUV (deliveries only recently started worldwide) based on the Model 3 will be added as production is ramped up - Tesla CEO Elon Musk has said he expects the Model Y to sell more than all the other Tesla models put together!
Back to the Model 3, which is offered in three variants, adding all-wheel drive, performance, and importantly, driving range as you go up the range, while keeping features such as its 15-inch central touchscreen standard. The base Model 3 Standard Range Plus offers a 54kWh battery pack, a single electric motor, rear wheel drive, 286PS and around 430km of driving range (WLTP). The next model up, the Model 3 Long Range, moves to a 62kWh battery pack, dual motors, AWD, 346PS, and 580km (WLTP) of driving range. The ultimate Model 3 is the Performance variant, with a larger 82kWh battery pack and 450PS, which manages the 0-100kmph dash in a supercar-rivalling 3.1s! The upper variants also get the full 250kW recharge capabilities via Tesla's Supercharger network, while the lower variant is capped at 170kW, still much quicker than anything current 50kW DC chargers in India can manage. It remains to be seen how Tesla manages charging for its vehicles in India.
Tesla's Model Y crossover is based on the Model 3, with added 7-seater capabilities, standard AWD and more cargo space
The Model 3 is priced between $39,990-59,990, which works out to Rs 30-44 lakh when directly converted, a price range where its rivals abroad include the likes of the Chevy Bolt and BMW i3 at the lower price bracket, and the new Polestar 2 electric sedan at the top. Pricing in India for the fully imported Model 3 is expected to come in around the Rs 55 lakh mark, likely for the base variant. Interestingly, the Model Y crossover with a dual-motor, AWD and 525km of range will likely only be Rs 10-12 lakh (estimated) more expensive, and as in its home market, will likely prove to be more popular given the extra capabilities.
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