Letter to Elon Musk on Tesla's future in India

India!!! Unfortunately has some of worlds most polluted cities. Who likes pollution? Well no one, not even us except some EV haters.


Lets remember Tesla’s mission “ To accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy”.


Well money making is not Elon’s end goal. Yes they need to make money to accelerate. People prefer less costly and good products here. So what I meant to say that you might have to keep your margins a bit lesser here then at other places. But when sales pickup that will be equal.

Delhi wants 25% EV by 2023!! Bit difficult but yeah not impossible.


Lets see cars in general in India. How much they cost? Well most of India’s top 10 selling cars are Under/near INR 10,00,000 or $14,285 (at rate of 1$ = INR 70). Tesla’s cheapest model is at $35,000. That makes it INR 24,50,000. 2.5 times what a average Indian buyer buy. Lets add 60% import duty. That brings us to INR 39,20,000 or $56,000!!! Its costly for even a US buyer. And much much for us. So what is conclusion from here! Is that EV need to be more affordable to be a mass market success here. Ya some rich kids would surely buy higher version S & X, but they soon will sell it. And in no way it serves Tesla’s mission. I want Tesla to make $20-25k model as said by Elon on MKBHD’s interview asap.


So , that’s one main challenge pricing. Here I came to another one. Roads!!!! Well yeah roads are improving, highways are getting built. But but still… not all roads are in good condition. And most important we have dangerously big Speed Bumps!! Made without any engineering, out here and there. Well a car with 170mm ground clearance can get through most of places but some are where even they get bottomed out. Not a big problem in ICEV, but in Tesla it can be as battery are under the car. And I don’t think anyone would even risk a scratch to bottom. And nor even Tesla would like its battery getting damaged. So elon please for whatever future model you consider building for Asian and African markets, try to atleast have their ground clearance to 180-200mm. Tesla forums states model 3’s ground clearance as 5.5 inch so nearly 140mm. Drivable but just drivable.


Another advice for any future Indian based model. Try to make battery of standard as big as possible. And remove features like AP hardware or glass roof. Have them on higher version and optional on standard. Elon better know how much they cost and will he be able to accommodate them. But a very cheap model is must. There are people currently buying near $10k car also. But lets say they will be done with that low range ev by other companies. But the range of ev by local manufacturers is not good. Like 100-150km. For American folks that 60-95miles. Even these costs like $21k. So when ev revolution begins here, people have to spend that much before rebates. So the $20-25k tesla would be boom here ( produced locally). Also govt is planning to remove registration tax from ev. So people don’t have to spend nearly 12% on it. This way they can spend much on car.

Elon, as you know importing a completely built EV to India will increase its price significantly. And then registration tax which further increase it by 10-12% or more depending on state. PLEASE TRY TO HAVE A GIGAFACTORY HERE ASAP! MILITARY QUICK ACTION Elon like in China.


And Tesla, try to have a sedan for here. A bit narrower then model 3 and length nearly 4 meter as the space in general allow here. Trend of SUV is increasing here. A Q3 sized SUV will be appreciated in future. A bit small SUV also as Tesla start expanding its products.


India Times writes–

"We have proposed a definition for completely knocked down (CKDs) and semi knocked down (SKDs) kits for EVs along with a tax structure conducive to increasing their presence on Indian roads. However, we will not touch the parts attracting zero percent duty," a senior government official told PTI.

Currently, zero customs duty is applied on the crucial parts of EVs including battery, charger, converter, controller, energy monitor, electric compressor and motor. While 28 percent basic customs duty is applied on parts including metals and plastics.


Tesla can quickly start partially production in India with imports of part and assembling them here.

I would recommend Tesla to start building Superchargers here. First in metro cities. And destination chargers also. Doing so by partnering with some other manufacturers like Suzuki and Tata for destination chargers. They will be getting ev by 2020, but small one. So destination chargers can suit them too. And then start expansion to highways and other cities.

With Tesla marching ahead in battery cost and other part production, I am sure that it will soon come with a more cheaper EV. The $25k Tesla!!


And I am pretty sure Deepak can also guide EM on this as said by him. Looking for Tesla partial presence this year here as said by elon. I would like to pay weekly visit to a store if opened in Delhi.

A personal request elon. Please put a switch for closing mirrors on driver side door.

Same things apply for any other company trying to get mass market EV to India.

It’s a diversified country. People have different needs.

This article is about mass adoption. So before anyone starts saying any hate comment about India or tesla, there will be many people buying S,3,X,Y also. ‘Many’.

Before having Tesla Motors here, I would recommend to have Tesla Energy here first. The solar is booming in India. With India aiming to have 80GWh capacity by 2020, I think it would be great if Tesla have its energy unit here first. A GF that can do both solar and car. After having tesla energy here for few years then launch tesla cars. Like after 3-4 years from now. Why? Because till then you would have cheaper cars also. Also wide range of line up to choose from. Tesla first needs to learn how indian market is and works! Deepak can be of great help. He can also guide you which extra’s to be removed. Localizing production in India! I think tesla will localize productions on each continent of every vehicle instead of some models rolling out to world from fermont.


Even tho am contributing to tesla by being a part of Tesla Community and spreading its mission, I would be happy if any of my advice also help you. I am very happy telling my friends and relatives about ev!

Lot more can be told on how being here, but that’s enough for it.

Am waiting Elon!


*first published in insideevs. This version has been updated.


By- Nikhil Chaudhary Birbhan

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