Tesla's Norway Popularity Can't Keep Up With Repairs
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Published on July 25th, 2018 | by Carolyn FortunaTeslaâs Norway Popularity Canât Keep Up With Repairs
July 25th, 2018 by Carolyn Fortuna
Tesla Norway has become a victim of its own popularity. Norway is by far the world leader in electric cars, and Business Insider has reported that Tesla became the overall most popular a utomaker in Norway in December 2017. The company broke its own daily record with 266 cars registered in a single day. But growing pains are becoming a problem for Tesla, as its sales surge in Norway is straining distribution and service. Long lines for repairs point to Tesla popularity but also the pains of rapid growth.
Image by StÃ¥le Frydenlund/elbil.no/Norsk Elbilforening (Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association), some rights reserved
Tesla sales in Norway for its Model S sedan and Model X SUV â" with prices ranging from about $80,000 to $130,000 in Norway â" more than doubled in 2017 and increased another 70% through June, 2018. The problem with this picture arises in its repair program, which has grown only by a third.
Picture, if you will, long waits for service and a generally placid consumer demographic with rising emotions.
The all-electric vehicle m anufacturer is heading at full speed into a mass market where customers will demand better service, yet itâs currently falling short of expectations. âNorway is the first country where this is really happening,â said Christina Bu, secretary general of the Norwegian Electric Vehicle Association, a group that represents car owners.
Musk agrees that Norwegiansâ dissatisfactions with its repairs are justified, but the Tesla CEO also blamed state authorities for slower-than-necessary action on a company proposal for repair technicians to make house calls.
In a case of âwe said, they said,â Norwegian officials refute Teslaâs claim, countering that the company hasnât filed a formal application for mobile service centers. âTesla Norway has recently been in a dialogue with the Norwegian Public Roads Administration (NPRA) about regulations for allowing workshops or the possibility of so-called âmobile service vansâ,â the Norwegian transport ministry sa id in a statement to Reuters in early July 2018. The NPRA says it has not received such an application.
Norwegian Tesla owners are caught in the middle.
Teslaâs Rosy Relationship with Norway â" At Least âTil Now
âAnyone who is popular is bound to be disliked.â
Norway, with a population of 5.3 million, has gone from a few thousand EVs in 2013 to more than 135,000 plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) or EVs registered today. It sells 1/10 of the worldâs all-electric vehicles. More than half of all new cars are now PEVs (globally, that share is still under 1â"2%), and Norwayâs PEV fleet trails only the US, China, and Japan â" much more populated countries. Largely, thatâs because Norway offers generous government incentives for EVs and EV awareness has been a major political focus for years, or even decades.
Sture Portvik, an Oslo city official, explained to CleanTechnica last year that EVs a re exempt from car purchase taxes. The 25% sales tax is âlevied on just about everything else, and they get a break on annual fees,â he said. EV drivers plug in for free at municipal power points, generally donât pay tolls, and can use bus lanes to avoid traffic. On ferries across Norwayâs deep fjords, EVs are free. Although the rate of adoption has stunned nearly everybody, Norwayâs PEV boom has been part of the governmentâs intention to phase out internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. The target is now to do so by 2025.
Yet, as Tesla sales boom in Norway, customers are complaining about a dealership & service network that has failed to keep pace with rising sales. In 2013, Tesla introduced its Supercharger network to Norway. The difficulties with Tesla repairs started as early as 2015, when threads on the Tesla Motors Club forum expressed ennui about long wait times at Norwegian repair service centers.
Mentions of wait times of 4 to 5 months to fix so mething as simple as a scroll button had begun.
Fast forward to 2018. In Norway, where PEVs 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 4th worst among companies in all sectors.
Image by Mariordo (Mario Roberto DurÃ¡n Ortiz), some rights reserved
Tesla Norway Infrastructure Complaints Point to Disparities in Experiences
âPopularity is the easiest thing in the world to gain, and it is the hardest thing to hold.â
Thereâs a new repair shop in Oslo. The number of technicians is expanding by 30%. Norwayâs leading recruitment website, Finn.no, shows numerous jobs for Tesla parts advisers, technicians, and mechanics posted this month alone. The quality of Tesla repairs in Norway is increasing â" slowly, incrementally, but surely.
< img src="https://cleantechnica.com/files/2018/07/Tesla-jobs-570x403.png"/>
âTheyâve hired many people already,â said Satheesh Varadharajan, head of the Tesla Owners Club Norway (TOCN), which has more than 3,000 members. âItâs not like theyâre standing still. Theyâre pushing like crazy.â
Others in the TOCN arenât so quick to excuse the all-electric manufacturer. Here are some comments from the June 28, 2018, meeting notes.
- Many owners experience long waiting times for correcting errors or warranty cases due to missing parts. This, along with long waiting times for service time, helps create a lot of worries and noise.
- Their extensive user survey clearly shows the frustration the members experience. âWe will not try to explain that there is a backlog in many locations, which leads to some waiting time,â Tesla says openly.
- Getting staff in working work can take anywhere from 3â"6 months, where training can steal additio nal time.
- Tesla has factories in Norway â" in Moss, Ãstfold. Standard parts are usually stocked, but some parts may take some longer to obtain and must be ordered.
Even though the TOCN had several areas of complaint, their overall demeanor reflects the Norwegian national disposition of calm and patience. âWe want and take the opportunity to wish all the new Tesla employees good luck in their new positions,â the moderator noted. âAt the same time, we encourage our members to meet both them and other Tesla employees with a smile and a nice tone.â
Image by Jacek Fior
âThere is a price for popularity. Critics look for your weaknesses, your flaws, anything that makes the work seem like a fluke and not seem worthy of all the attention itâs getting.â
Norway has a goal to make all new cars sold in the country free of gas/diesel engines by 2025, which means that uncharted territory will become the norm as automakers transition from gas and diesel cars to so many new electric cars.
The need for more repair options is just one complaint that is arising within the EV community â" the Tesla community and others. Lac of charging stations is becoming the newest complaint of EV owners. The simultaneous growth of EVs and public charging points also lead municipalities to wonder which rollout strategy is best: demand-driven or strategic? Even Teslaâs proprietary Supercharger network doesnât suffice quite yet and needs to be augmented via adapters for other charging stations on occasion.
âIf it had been another car brand, you would maybe be a bit less forgiving,â said Henrik Eriksen, who had to send his new Tesla Model S in for repairs almost immediately after he bought it because of a problem with the main fuse. âBut itâs jus t like a football team, you want to cheer on the one you believe in.âSupport CleanTechnicaâs work by becoming a Member, Supporter, or Ambassador. Or you can buy a cool t-shirt, cup, baby outfit, bag, or hoodie or make a one-time donation on PayPal.
About the Author
Carolyn Fortuna Carolyn Fortuna, Ph.D. is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. She's won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavy Foundation. Sheâs molds scholarship into digital media literacy and learning to spread the word about sustainability issues. Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook and Google+
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