Tesla is preparing to enter the Indian market. They have already registered themselves in Bangalore and they might set up their headquarters in Mumbai. Tesla is testing its Model 3 and Model Y on the Indian roads. However, there is a bit of an issue that the manufacturer needs to resolve before launching the Model 3 in India. The ground clearance of Model 3 is not enough for the Indian roads. So, Tesla will be increasing the ride height of the Model 3 for the Indian market.
Tesla Model 3 has a ground clearance of 140 mm. Due to this, there are high chances that the Model 3 will scrape on our speed breakers and can damage its underbody. According to Autocar India, Tesla is trying to increase the ride height of the Model 3 by 25 mm. Once increased, the total ground clearance of the Model 3 will be 165 mm which should be just enough for our bad Indian roads.
Model 3 uses coil springs that cannot be adjusted for extra ground clearance. Model S and Model X on the other hand come with air suspension on which the height can be adjusted by a simple command. So, they can handle speed breakers much better. Having said that, the Model S and Model X will cost a lot of money in India. So, Tesla has decided to launch the lower models first. Now, as the Model 3 required further development, it is highly likely that the Model Y will be the first vehicle that Tesla launches in India.
The agency that was testing Model 3, IDIADA Automotive Technology reported that Model 3 bottomed out on 160 of the 200 speed breakers the testers attempted going over. So, they have suggested Tesla to re-engineer the suspension for the Indian market. They have recommended increasing the ride height by 25 mm.
When compared the Model Y which is a crossover version of the Model 3 has a ground clearance of 170 mm. So, Model Y is better suited for our Indian road conditions. It is sold as a 5-seater or a 7-seater SUV in foreign markets.
Tesla received approval for four models
Tesla has completed the homologation phase and they received approval for four models. Most likely there will be two variants of the Model 3 and two variants of Model Y. Now, Tesla might delay the launch of the Model 3 in India as it is a sedan and the suspension does require some serious work so that it is suited for our Indian road conditions.
Then there are Model S and Model X which costs significantly higher than the Model 3 and Model Y. Both of them sit on top of the line-up and are priced much higher. Also, as Tesla will be bringing the vehicles as CBU or CKD units the prices will be quite high at first. So, it makes sense for Tesla to first bring the relatively affordable vehicles like Model Y and Model 3.
High import duties in India
Earlier, Elon Musk tweeted that India has one of the highest import duties in the world. So, he wanted to reduce the import duty for Tesla vehicles as they are cleaner vehicles when compared to petrol and diesel-powered vehicles. On this, the Heavy Industries Ministry of India said to Tesla that they would need to start manufacturing in India for getting any tax concessions. As of now, Tesla has not replied officially.