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Tesla to start operations in India next year - report

Dec 28 (Reuters) - Tesla Inc will come to India early next year, country’s transport minister Nitin Gadkari told national daily the Indian Express on Monday.

The electric-car maker will start with sales and then might look at assembly and manufacturing based on the response, the minister told here the newspaper.

Tesla and the minister’s office could not be immediately reached by Reuters for comment.

Though keen to reduce its oil dependence and cut down on pollution, India’s efforts to promote electric vehicles have been so far stymied by a lack of investment in manufacturing and infrastructure such as charging stations.

The first model to be launched will be Model 3, the cheapest among Tesla vehicles, with prices starting at over $74,739 (5.5 million Indian rupees), according to a report in the Economic Times on Saturday. (bit.ly/355Y4i3)

The bookings will start in January, the report said.

In October, the government of Maharashtra had invited Tesla to the state, weeks after Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk suggested entering the country next year.

$1 = 73.5050 Indian rupees Reporting by Ayanti Bera in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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