Tesla Inc is gearing up to launch in India, but the US electric car maker is likely to remain a niche player for years, catering only to the rich in the world’s second most populous nation.
India’s fledgling electric vehicle (EV) market accounted for only 5,000 out of 2.4 million cars sold in the country last year. A lack of local production of components and batteries, negligible charging infrastructure and the high cost of EVs mean there have been few takers in the price-conscious market.
It’s also difficult to see how Tesla’s sought-after and expensive autonomous driving features will work on India’s congested roads.
Ammar Master, a forecaster at consultancy LMC Automotive, said he expects Tesla to annually sell only 50-100 of its Model 3 electric sedans in India, at least during the first five years.
“ India is still not so environmentally conscious to pay that much of a premium,” Master said.
“It always comes down to the price point. There will be some high net-worth individuals like movie stars and top business executives who will look at it for the brand value, but how many buyers are there?”