Road transport and highways minister Nitin Gadkari confirmed on Monday that the United States-based electric vehicle maker Tesla is expected to start its operations in India next year. “The company is expected to start its operations, first with sales for its vehicles in India from next year, and considering the demand, it would also look into setting up a manufacturing facility here,” Gadkari told The Times of India.

According to the TOI sources, the decision was made after a few rounds of talks between Gadkari and the top executives of Tesla. The US-based company also had discussions with some of the Indian states to start sales of its vehicles.

Tesla was earlier in talks with the officials of the Karnataka government to start a research facility in Bengaluru. The Maharashtra government is also trying to make Tesla invest in the state.

On Sunday, Tesla chief Elon Musk relied to a tweet, saying that his company planned to enter India “this year” but not in the month of January. He had dropped a similar hint in last October as well.

According to media reports, Tesla would open pre-bookings for the Model 3 car in India with its delivery expected by June. The Tesla Model 3, which could reach to 500km with a top speed of 162kmph, will not be sold through any dealerships.

In June 2018, Musk’s company had requested the Indian government to grant temporary relief on the import penalties.

Gadkari has been speaking highly of the electric vehicles as he recently said that Mercedes-Benz was planning to launch its electric truck in India.

“I strongly believe that India will become the number one hub of vehicle manufacturing in the world and will take lead in producing electric vehicles,” he had said.