Tesla’s entry in India is expected once the window for applications to the Scheme to Promote Manufacturing of Electric Passenger Cars in India (SPMEPCI) opens in July-August this year.

The Centre had approved the SPMEPCI on March 15. The window for application to the scheme was to open in the 120 days (or more) following that. The companies that apply have to commit minimum $500-million investment to set up a new plant in India. They can start manufacturing in the next three years with a minimum domestic value addition of 25 per cent by third year and 50 per cent by the fifth year.

“According to the Scheme to Promote Manufacturing of Electric Passenger Cars in India, the 120 days will come to end around July 31 (as it was approved on March 15), so we will open the window in August or may be in September (at max) for the applicants. Companies can start applying then and it will remain open for at least four-five months (or even more, that is up to the Ministry of Heavy Industries) and once the applications come, we can start evaluating them so that eligible candidates can take the benefits under the scheme,” a senior government official, privy to the developments, told businessline.

Re-opening window

The official said that there is a provision in the policy to reopen the window for applications within two-three years, if the need arises. Under the policy, the companies can also import completely built units (CBUs) of electric cars of cost, insurance and freight (CIF) value of $35,000 or above, eligible for reduced custom duty of 15 per cent (from 100 per cent currently) for a period of five years.

A company can import maximum 8,000 EVs each year for a period of five years, subject to amount of duty foregone or investment made, the official explained.

The official also mentioned that existing companies can also apply for subsidies under this scheme, provided they commit a minimum investment of $500 million, and a new plant for producing EVs in the country, which will not only generate employability, but also achieve the goal of ‘Make in India’.

Stakeholders’ meet

He said there will be a consultative meeting of the stakeholders over the next month or two, where the government will discuss industry issues before issuing the guidelines for the policy. “We will draft the guidelines and circulate among the possible applicants, and again call them for a consultative meeting.”

The first consultative meeting was held last month where representatives from companies including Tesla, Vinfast, Maruti Suzuki India, Tata Motors, Mahindra & Mahindra, and others were present.

When asked about Tesla, the official added, “We will invite everyone, and whosoever wants to come, they can come.”