Those high import duties are the main reason. 100%! Can you imagine?
100% for cars above $40k, 60% for less than $40k. Its ridiculous.
As elon replied below
Then as we, Tesla Club India, replied asking for a assembly plant he replied this
He explains that for a factory in other country, they want to use profit generated in that country from selling the imported cars to make a factory which current rules prevent.
However he earlier said this
Then in the shareholder meeting he said” I would be surprised if we won't be there by next year(2020)”.
And the students of Avishkar Hyperloop who went for SpaceX hyperloop competition said Elon said tesla might run on indian roads by next year.
Another reason for Tesla not investing here is because they have lot of easier and bigger market to enter. They need to get Giga China running. They are also planning Giga Europe. India for their current cars is a very small market, so not having much focus.
However there is an unconfirmed report by LiveMint that Tesla has shown an initial interest in India's plan to build battery factory. GOI is going to take bid on 4 such plants. So it might be true, but I can't confirm. Tesla didn't responded to news agency. And someone I know he said he knows nothing on this and will not comment even if he do know.
We have started a petition asking govt to reduce import duty on all EV for few years. Do sign and share. Sign the Petition