Union Minister for roads and highways, Nitin Gadkari on Friday said he has asked Elon Musk-run Tesla to come and manufacture electric cars in the country and the government will extend all support needed for the manufacturing facility.
Speaking at the 'India Today Conclave 2021', Gadkari said: "I have told Tesla that don't sell electric cars manufactured in China, in India. You should manufacture electric cars in our country, and also export cars from India".
The government may consider lowering import duty along with offering other sops to Tesla but for that the EV major would have to invest in setting up a manufacturing facility in the country.
Currently, India levies 100 per cent tax on the imported cars of price more than $40,000 (Rs 30 lakh) inclusive of insurance and shipping expenses, and cars less than $40,000 are subject to 60 per cent import tax.
Musk recently said that he wants to launch cars in India, but the country's import duties on EVs are "highest in the world by far".
"We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country!" he had posted on Twitter.
The EV company had urged the government to lower the import tax on EVs to 40 per cent from 100 per cent. Tesla also has plans to set up its manufacturing unit in Karnataka once the electric car maker gets success with imported cars.
Gadkari said that whatever support Tesla wants to manufacture its electric cars in the country, "the government will provide that".
The minister had said recently that Tesla has a golden opportunity to set up its manufacturing facility in India as the country is bullish on e-vehicles.
Currently, the premium car market is about 7 per cent of the total car market in India. Without a relaxation on import duty, Tesla will remain premium for the Indian market but not ultra-premium.
Gadkari also said with the use of alternative fuel and technology, the Indian automobile sector could be the number one in the world.
He said it was his dream to make the Indian automobile sector the leader of the segment in the world.
"I am confident that we are going to be the number one in the world by using alternative fuel and technology within five years," the minister said.
Speaking on the issue of air pollution, Gadkari said: "The most important problem which our country is facing is the problem related to pollution and the economy. And by using petrol and diesel we are going to generate air pollution in the country."