Tesla unveiled its Model 3 electric vehicle at its Design Studio on Thursday. More than 130,000 people have already pre-ordered the car by paying $1,000, even though deliveries are unlikely to being until late 2017. Tesla founder Elon Musk took to Twitter to announce that the company’s most affordable car will also be available in several new markets including India, Brazil, South Africa, and Ireland.
Tesla starts getting Model 3 customers in India
Elon Musk claimed on stage that Model 3 will have a range of 215 miles and a starting price of $35,000. The EV maker would work to further improve the range by the time it hits the road. Musk told the audience that the company will increase production to 500,000 units per year (including Model X and Model S) once Model 3 enters production.
Adding several more countries to Model 3 order page tonight. Check for details, but will include India, Brazil, SA, SK, NZ, Sing & Ireland.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 31, 2016
Tesla has already found its first customer in India. Technology blogger Amit Bhawani of PhoneRadar.com was the first to pre-order the car in India. Venture capitalist Mahesh Murthy also booked the car on very first day. However, the vehicle may not be available in India until 2018. Tesla has said that deliveries will begin in North America first, followed by Europe, Asia-Pacific and right-hand drive markets like India and the UK.
Just reserved the Tesla 3 in India & looking forward to the Test Drive. CreditCard already charged. Too much excited pic.twitter.com/WBVJIYKNyL
— Amit Bhawani (@amitbhawani) April 1, 2016
— Mahesh Murthy (@maheshmurthy) April 1, 2016
The Palo Alto-based company cannot ship to all regions simultaneously because regulators in each country have different production requirements. Even though the vehicle has been priced at $35,000 in the US, it may cost up to 5 million Indian rupees ($75,000) in India because the government imposes very high customs duty on ‘complete built units’ (CBUs).
India subsidizing electric vehicles
In September 2015, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Tesla’s San Jose facility and held a meeting with Elon Musk. Musk said last year that it would make sense for Tesla to setup a Gigafactory in India in the long-term. Indian automaker Mahindra & Mahindra is also working to launch an all-electric version of its Verito sedan, priced at $20,000.
In India, state governments such as those of Delhi and Karnataka are increasingly pushing for electric vehicles by eliminating all local taxes on EVs. The Indian government is also planning to subsidize electric vehicles under the National Electric Mobility Mission. The government has set the target of having 7 million electric and hybrid cars on the road by 2020.