Ola Electric’s Bhavish Aggarwal disagrees with Elon Musk’s call to lower import duty on EVs

Ola co-founder Bhavish Aggarwal has said he disagrees with Tesla and Hyundai, as both carmakers have called for lower duties on imported EVs in India, and exuded confidence in the country’s ability to build indigenously and attract global OEMs to follow suit. Ola, which is popular for its ride-hailing services, is set to foray into the electric vehicle (EV) space with the launch of its e-scooter, said to be named the Ola Series S. The company had announced a Rs 2,400 crore investment for setting up a factory in Tamil Nadu for manufacturing its e-scooter.

“Strongly disagree with both. Let’s have confidence in our ability to build indigenously and also attract global OEMs to build in India, not just import. We won’t be the first country to do so!” Aggarwal tweeted.

Aggarwal was responding to a tweet about Hyundai India MD Seon Seob Kim backing Tesla’s call for lower duties in India on imported EVs, wherein the executive reportedly said lower duties will help grow the EV market.

Interacting on Twitter with followers who asked him to launch Tesla cars in India, Tesla CEO Elon Musk had said, “We want to do so, but import duties are the highest in the world by far of any large country”. “But we are hopeful that there will be at least a temporary tariff relief for electric vehicles. That would be much appreciated,” he had said. Currently, India imposes 100 percent import duty on fully imported cars with CIF (Cost, Insurance and Freight) value more than USD 40,000 and 60 percent on those costing less than that amount.

Interestingly, Korean automobile major Hyundai and Kia have together invested about $300 million in Ola. The partnership, which was announced in March 2019, was formed to jointly develop electric vehicles and charging infrastructure customised for the Indian market.

Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal has opposed calls for a reduction on import duty for EVs. Image: Ola/Tesla

Ola Electric CEO Bhavish Aggarwal has opposed calls for a reduction on import duty for EVs. Image: Ola/Tesla

Aggarwal has previously spoken about taking the vehicle to international markets, including countries like France, Italy and Germany. The first phase of Ola’s Futurefactory is nearing completion and will be operational soon, while the full capacity of 10 million vehicles per annum will be built by next year. Upon completion, the factory will create nearly 10,000 jobs and is expected to be the world’s largest scooter manufacturing facility that will initially have an annual production capacity of two million units.

Last year, Ola Electric acquired Amsterdam-based Etergo BV for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition of Etergo was aimed at bolstering its engineering and design capabilities in the electric mobility space. When launched, Ola electric scooter will go up against models from Hero MotoCorp-backed Ather Energy, Bajaj Auto and others.

Also read: Ola Electric Series S e-scooter set to have range of up to 150 km, fixed batteries

Ola Electric Series S e-scooter to be sold directly to buyers and home-delivered