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

Providing Special Incentives to Reward a Major U.S. Electric Vehicle Manufacturer Tesla Coming to India would not be in the interest of the country, Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal said.

“Tesla is free to come and set up shop here and sell their cars,” Aggarwal told the London-based business publication Financial Times. “They just want to be treated differently than others, which I don’t think is in India’s interest.”

Management company Elon Musk showed great interest in entering Indian market, but his demand for lower import duties, which could be up to 100% of the value of a car, has put him at odds with the government, which is pushing for local production of cars. This resulted in Tesla putting its plans to enter the Indian market on hold.

On May 28, Musk tweeted that he was not interested in setting up a factory before going to market in India. “Tesla will not locate a factory anywhere where we are not allowed to sell and service vehicles first,” he tweeted.

Tesla wants to import and sell in India first and then manufacture. The company is known to lobby governments around the world for special incentives. In China, for example, Tesla was able to start operations without partnering with a local company, which has been the law in the country for many years.

The company’s first employee in India was Manuj Kurana in 2021 as Head of Public Policy, who spearheaded its lobbying activities.

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In June, Reuters reported that Kurana had left Tesla, indicating that the company’s plans to enter the Indian market had stalled.

ET reported May 5 that Tesla has reassigned all of its employees in the country to work in the larger Asia-Pacific market.

Ola Electric, a manufacturer of electric two-wheelers, is working on an electric vehicle project. Aggarwal caught a glimpse of this at a recent event in Bangalore.

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

The recent wave of EV fires, including the Ola scooter, hasn’t helped the company tumble down month-on-month sales.
ET reported June 24 that Ola Electric can only record sales of 130-200 units per day, a far cry from its ambition of producing 10 million scooters a year.

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