What we know about the Tesla models due for launch in India

Tesla India

Electric mobility giant Tesla Motors Inc. is all set to enter the Indian market, with four of its models having received approval for homologation by the Indian government. According to the government’s Vahan Seva website, four models or variants of Tesla were submitted for homologation and have recently received approval for the same.

While the website does not confirm the name or variant of the car, Tesla Club India – a Twitter group actively providing updates on Tesla’s activity in India – speculated that the models are the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y.

The speculations come in light of Tesla’s Model 3 and Model Y having been spotted testing on Indian roads, heavily camouflaged, but, given the unique silhouettes carried by each Tesla, hard to be mistaken for anything else.

So what do we know about the Teslas coming to India and why do they have four models listed instead of the two that have been spotted on the road?

All Tesla cars, like pretty much every other car sold in the world, come with multiple variants, with different motor configurations and different states of tune. The Model 3, for example, has three powertrain variants sold internationally, starting with the rear-wheel-drive “Standard Plus”  variant which features a single electric motor powering the rear axle.

It features a 50 kWh battery and has a claimed range of 421 km, as per the Environment Protection Agency testing method. In the U.S, the base Tesla is priced at roughly Rs 29.2 lakh, and given that it’s a direct import, will cost twice as much when launched in India.

In addition to that, Model 3 has two dual-motor variants – the Performance and the Long Range AWD model. Both are powered by the same 75 kWh battery but while one is tuned for outright acceleration, the other is designed for an extended range of 568km with the top-end variant priced at Rs 41.6 lakh in the US and will cost roughly Rs 82 lakh if launched in India.

Why the Model Y?

While the Model 3 is presently the best-selling plug-in electric car in the world, India still remains an SUV market, and given that the Model X might be too pricey to be launched initially, it’s the smaller Model Y that makes more sense for the Indian market. Although buyers in that category tend to be less utility conscious, the Model Y does come with a seven-seat configuration (optional) and a dual-motor AWD setup as standard, making it a potent off-roader.

Available in two variants—the Performance and the Long Range AWD—the Model Y’s pricing is expected to start around Rs 77 lakh, given that it costs Rs 38.7 lakh in the US. Both the Model 3 and the Y form the lower-end of Tesla’s product lineup with the Model S Plaid and the upcoming Roadster, marking the top-end.

While there has been no official communication from Tesla regarding launch dates or details about which model is being launched, Elon Musk has been vocal in his demand for greater tax rebates. While the Central government hasn’t made an official statement regarding lowering duties, a Reuters report claims that two senior government officials have told the news agency about the government considering slashing EV import duty from 60% to 40%. But only if the car’s total value is less than $40,000 including cost, insurance, and freight charges.

While the likes of the Tesla Model S mark the top-end of the brand’s luxury and performance spectrum and would comply with Tesla’s top-down sales approach, it’s not going to meet the criteria mentioned here and therefore is unlikely to be one of the four variants approved for homologation. At present, only the base Model 3 meets the alleged $40,000 cut-off criteria. For the rest, Tesla is just going to have to build cars locally.

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