Ola’s Bhavish Aggarwal says special treatment for Tesla not in India’s interest, report says

Grant special incentives to encourage American electric car majors You’re here coming to India will not be in the best interest of the country, CEO of Ola Electric Bhavish Aggarwal said.

“Tesla is free to come in and open a store here and sell their cars,” Aggarwal told London-based business publication Financial Times. “They just want to be treated differently from others, which I think is not in India’s interest.”

The company run by Elon Musk had a keen interest in entering Indian market, but his demand for lower import duties, which can be as much as 100% of the cost of the vehicle, has led to a standoff with the government, which is pushing for local vehicle manufacturing. This led Tesla to put plans to enter the Indian market on hold.

Musk had tweeted on May 28 about his lack of interest in setting up a factory before entering the Indian market. “Tesla will not set up a manufacturing facility in a place where we are not allowed to sell and service cars,” he tweeted.

Tesla wants to import and sell in India first before manufacturing. The company is known to lobby governments around the world for special incentives. In China, for example, Tesla was 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 in 2021 as a public policy officer to lead its lobbying efforts.

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Reuters had reported in June that Khurana had left Tesla, saying the company’s plans to enter India had stalled.

ET had reported on May 5 that Tesla had reassigned all of its employees in the country to work for the largest Asia-Pacific market.

Ola Electric, manufacturer of electric two-wheelers, is working on an electric car project. Aggarwal gave a glimpse of this at a recent event in Bengaluru.

The company is seeking land in various states to manufacture the car and its own lithium-ion battery cells that power electric vehicles. Currently, all Indian EV manufacturers import cells from other countries.

The recent flurry of electric vehicles that caught fire, including an Ola scooter, did not help the company see sales plummet month-on-month.
ET had reported on June 24 that Ola Electric can only register sales of 130 to 200 units per day, which is far from its ambition to manufacture 10 million scooters per year.

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