Ola Electric founder Bhavish Aggarwal said that giving special incentives to Elon Musk’s Tesla in India was not in the best interests of the country at a time when the government itself is trying to spur the development of domestic leaders in the electric vehicle industry.
Ola is trying to enter the four-wheeler EV space in early 2023, having launched a two-wheeler scooter in the country. The company had raised $200 million at a $5 billion valuation in January 2022 to fund its EV ambitions.
“Tesla is free to come in and put up a shop here and sell its cars. They just want to be treated differently from others, which I believe is not in the interests of India,” Aggarwal was quoted as saying by the Financial Times.
Elon Musk had recently tweeted that Tesla will not put a manufacturing plant in any location where it are not allowed first to sell and service cars. The company has reportedly put its India plans on hold, which was followed by the exit of its India policy and business development executive Manuj Khurana.
Tesla and the Indian government have been discussing its entry into the country for almost two years. Musk even urged India to cut import duties before it launched operations in the country. India imposes a 100% duty on fully imported cars worth $40,000, and a 60% duty on cars that value less than $40,000.
However, in February this year India rejected Tesla’s call for lower taxes to import EVs. India’s minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said at the time that the country won’t have any problem if Tesla was ready to manufacture its EVs in India.
“Come to India, start manufacturing,” he said, adding that Tesla must not import cars from China to sell in India.
This is not the first time that Ola’s Aggarwal has reacted to Tesla’s India plans. He had previously stated that India must have confidence in its ability to build indigenously and also attract global OEMs to build in India, not just import.
The quality of Ola’s electric scooters is being scrutinized after one of them caught fire while other users complained about other quality issues.
Ola is among the few companies that bagged a tender under India’s $2.4 billion programme to boost local battery cell production. Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and Hyundai have also won the same tender.