Tesla CEO Elon Musk is one of the richest men in the United States, but getting him and others to pay more taxes has been problematic. Photo: AFP

India’s fledgling electric vehicles market is expected to get a shot in the arm with global leader Tesla planning to bring its cars to the country next year. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has been interacting with Indian Twitter users for many years, has revealed that the process will begin in January, Indo-Asian News Service reports.

Reacting to a tweet by Tesla Club India, Musk said: “Will release order configurator probably in Jan.” Tesla sales teams are reportedly working on building custom sales and production orders for the India market, ensuring orders are complete and validated once the configuration is finished.

Musk had earlier this month said on Twitter that the company was ready to enter the Indian market next year. “Next year for sure,” Musk said in response to a tweet that posted pictures of T-shirts with “India wants Tesla” and “India loves Tesla” printed on them. “Thanks for waiting,” he added. Musk had also hinted that its electric Model 3 will be available in India “hopefully soon.”

However, it is not clear whether Musk will announce a Tesla plant in India or source them from other facilities. In Asia, Tesla has only one Gigafactory, located in Shanghai, China. The Indian government has been pushing global auto makers to set up domestic manufacturing facilities.

Tesla has not been favored this notion in the past. In a 2018 Twitter post, Musk cited “some challenging government regulations” as a hurdle. He also criticized the foreign direct investment norms for the delay in the electric carmaker’s entry into the Indian market.

Meanwhile, Karnataka state is pitching its capital Bangalore as a potential location for Tesla’s Gigafactory to manufacture electric cars and batteries, Economic Times reports, quoting government sources. The US electric carmaker has already held preliminary talks with state government officials about a research and innovation unit in the city.

Bangalore is home to many of India’s electric vehicle startups such as Ola Mobility, Ather Energy, Mahindra Electric as well as units of Toyota, Daimler and Bosch.

India is ramping up its charging infrastructure for electric vehicles to boost its market share. It had earlier set an ambitious target of attaining full electric mobility by 2030, but had toned it down to 30% in the wake of fierce criticism.

Financial services firm Avendus has projected that India’s electric vehicle market will touch 500 billion rupees by 2025. It expects electric vehicle sales to exceed three million, with the majority of them being two and three wheelers. As for four-wheelers, Avendus says that in the medium-term electric vehicle adoption will be confined to commercial or fleet applications.