Union Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said that US electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc is welcome to set up a plant in India for domestic sale and export them, but must not import cars from China.
"India has a good ecosystem to set up electric car plants. We have all the competencies, vendors and technology that Musk seeks. We can reduce the cost,” he said, adding, “Come to India and start manufacturing. India is a huge market. There are ports available. The export will not be a problem.”
"Making in China and selling here is not a good proposition. Our request to Musk is – come to India and manufacture in India,” Gadkari said at the Raisina Dialogue here.
Tesla plans to import and sell its electric vehicles in India and has lobbied for a year to lower tariffs. India, however, has turned down its request as it believes the current tax structure is well suited to the local assembly of vehicles.
On recent incidents of fire in EVs, the Minister said: “In March, April and May, particularly when temperatures rise, there is some problem with the battery cell. We have appointed an expert committee. We will get the reports. But apparently, I feel that it is a problem with temperature. Now, we have decided to make standards and rules for that. We need to have a testing system for the battery and cell. With the appropriate technology, we can certify.”
The Road Transport and Highways Minister also acknowledged that the country's EV industry has "just started" and emphasised that the government does not want to put up a hurdle.
"But safety is the highest priority for the government and there can be no compromise with human lives," Gadkari said.
Terming the incidents as “unfortunate accidents”, Gadkari said that while the government is committed to exploring solutions, its intention is not to create unnecessary complications for the industry.
“In due course of time, we will come out with standards and rules and regulations. Meanwhile, if there is some manufacturing problem, my request to companies is to recall the product and fix the issue. This is very important. Companies should find out why there is this problem [fire in EVs],” he added.
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