US startup Fisker will begin selling its Ocean Electric Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) in India in July and could begin local production of its cars in a few years, the company’s chief executive officer told Reuters. .
Electric car sales in India will increase by 2025-26, Henrik Fisker said in an interview in New Delhi, adding that the company wants to secure a first-mover advantage.
“Eventually, India will go all-electric. It may not be going as fast as the US, China or Europe, but we want to be one of the first to get here,” Fisker said.
Electric cars currently make up just 1 percent of India’s roughly 3 million annual car sales, with insufficient charging infrastructure and high battery costs partly responsible for the slow shift.
The government, which aims to grow this share to 30 percent by 2030, is offering companies billions of dollars in incentives to build their EVs and associated parts locally.
Fisker rival Tesla has put its entry plans for India on hold after failing to secure a lower import tariff on its cars. Like Fisker, it wanted to import vehicles first to test the market before committing to local production.
While Fisker admitted it is “very expensive” to import vehicles into India, the company wants to use the Ocean to build its brand, with its premium prices likely to limit numbers, he said.
The Ocean sells in the United States for about $37,500 (almost Rs. 30,41,600), but importing it to India would incur logistics costs and a 100 percent import tax. That would put it out of reach for most buyers in a market where the bulk of cars sold cost less than $15,000 (almost Rs. 12,16,600).
“Ultimately, if you want to have a little bit more volume in India, you almost have to start building a vehicle here or at least do some assembly,” Fisker said.
The company’s next EV — the smaller, five-seat PEAR — is being considered for production in India, but not before 2026, he said.
“If we can get that vehicle locally in India just under $20,000 (almost Rs. 16,22,700), that would be ideal. Then I think we will reach a certain volume and market share,” he said, adding that if she finds the right local partner the timeline could be shorter.
Setting up a factory in India would require a volume of at least 30,000 to 40,000 cars per year, Fisker said.
He did not directly comment on the size of the investment the company deemed necessary, but said that setting up a factory with an annual production capacity of 50,000 cars in India would likely cost $800 million (nearly Rs. 6,500 crore).
Fisker has a contract manufacturing agreement with Magna International, which will manufacture the Ocean at its Austrian facility and ship it to India. It also has an agreement with Foxconn to build the PEAR.
The company is looking for real estate space to open a showroom in New Delhi and is meeting auto parts suppliers to purchase parts for global production, he said.
“We’re already starting to build some relationships,” he said.