India has highest import duty in the world: Elon Musk on delay in launching Tesla

The Indian market is waiting for Tesla cars for a few years now. After Tesla started accepting the bookings for the Model 3 a few years, they dropped the plan altogether and gave the booking amount back. Earlier this year, Tesla inaugurated its first-ever office in India in Bengaluru and the plans to bring the first car for sale is on the cars. Well, how early can we get the Tesla cars in India? Maybe not very soon.

After a youtube creator, Madan Gowri requested Elon Musk to launch the Tesla cars in the Indian market as soon as possible, the reply from Musk was not very satisfying. Elon Musk replied, “We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country! Moreover, clean energy vehicles are treated the same as diesel or petrol, which does not seem entirely consistent with the climate goals of India,”

India has highest import duty in the world: Elon Musk on delay in launching Tesla

We are not sure if the high import tax and duty will defer the launch of the Tesla vehicles in the Indian market. While Tesla has always been a highly competitive manufacturer in foreign markets, the price of its vehicles will shoot up rapidly after the taxes and duties. The price of the Tesla cars may become one of the highest in the world in India when launched.

Interestingly, senior leaders from the ruling party have been inviting Elon Musk to set up a factory in India to manufacture Tesla models and export them from India. While a few states have also offered land to the leading electric car manufacturer, there is no sign of a new Tesla factory coming up in India.

Tesla to launch Model 3 in India

India has highest import duty in the world: Elon Musk on delay in launching Tesla

All the Tesla models in India will be imported as Completly Built Units or CBU and that is why it will attract massive import taxes and duties. The entry-level Model 3 is likely to get a price tag of around Rs 60 lakh, ex-showroom. It will become the most expensive electric sedan in India on its launch.

The first product is likely to have a price tag of around Rs 60 lakh. Since the import taxes are very high in India and Tesla will launch the car as CBU,  it will command a high price tag. Tesla has set up a Gigafactory in China and the products are likely to be imported from there. If Tesla ever builds a manufacturing facility in India, the price of the vehicles may come down to Rs 30 lakh but that might take years to happen.

The exact launch date of the Tesla vehicles in India is not known yet but it will happen in the coming months this year. The Tesla Model 3 is available in various variants. The base version of the vehicle is powered by a 283 Bhp electric motor that produces a maximum of 450 Nm of peak torque. This variant can do 0-100 km/h in about 5.5 seconds and can reach a top speed of 210 km/h. Tesla claims that it can do 350 km on a single charge. The top-end trim is much more powerful and gets a 450 Bhp electric motor. The motor develops a massive 639 Nm of peak torque and can do 0-100 km/h in just 3.1 seconds. This variant comes with a claimed range of 500 km in the international markets.

Shantonil Nag

Shantonil brings a refined blend of expertise and enthusiasm to motoring journalism at With a career spanning over 11 years, he anchors Cartoq's insightful car reviews and test drives. His journalistic journey began as a correspondent at, where he honed his skills in content writing and scripting car reviews. Later, as Senior Editor for, his expanded role included curating and structuring web content. At, his expanded role includes assisting the video team to create high-quality car reviews. (Full bio)