Market Overview

Norwegians Quietly Revolt Against Tesla

In Norway, where plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles made up more than half of new car sales last year, Tesla is the lowest-ranked automaker on a list of brands for quality of service, and fourth-worst among companies in all sectors.

Tesla has slipped up as sales in Norway for its Model S sedan and Model X SUV more than doubled last year and jumped another 70 percent through June. Its repair staff, by contrast, has grown only by a third—highlighting the potential troubles it may face as electric cars become more commonplace.

Musk has said Norwegians were right to be upset, but blames authorities for not acting fast enough to greenlight a plan to dispatch repair technicians to customers’ homes. While some talks have taken place, Tesla hasn’t filed a formal application for mobile service centers, Norwegian officials say.

As Tesla stumbles, traditional automakers—with well established service networks—are adding models and boosting output. Jaguar this year introduced its $80,000 I-Pace crossover, with a driving range of 298 miles, versus 237 miles for the Model X. Next year, Mercedes-Benz will unveil the EQ C crossover, and Volkswagen is planning a new electric hatchback to face off with Tesla’s Model 3.

Plug-ins and battery-powered cars already play a major role in the nation of 5.3 million people that gets its electricity almost exclusively from hydro plants. But as Norway aims to make all new cars sold in the country battery-powered by 2025—a target it will reach only with lavish subsidies paid for by sales of oil—automakers will need to fix their service hiccups.

A recent survey by the electric vehicles association showed that an increasing number of owners report waiting to get a spot at a charging station. A shortage of charging sockets has become the second-most cited reason for not buying an electric car, after concerns about driving range.

Norwegians Quietly Revolt Against Tesla, Bloomberg, Jul 24
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