Norwegians owning a Tesla have been griping for a long time about inadequate service facilities for their EVs, but that is hopefully about to change as Tesla CEO Elon Musk steps in to resolve the issue by barking orders to his team on the ground in Norway.
What Matters: The Norwegian government has been pushing the EV case since 1990, cutting purchase and import tax on electric vehicles that year. Since Tesla made its appearance in Norway in 2013, there’s been a dearth of infrastructure support on the service side. The problem has now escalated to a point where Musk had to step in. Tesla has now sent an official email to Tesla car owners in Norway that investments in service facilities will be increased by 30% in 2018. The email also urged Tesla owners to keep contacting the existing centers and representatives for assistance.
Why it Matters: Norway wants to go all-electric by 2025 and has indicated that it wants no more new ICE (internal combustion engine – primarily petrol and diesel) vehicles to be sold from then on. To that end, it has already passed half a dozen resolutions over the past two years that include no road tax for zero-emission vehicles and no re-registration tax when you buy a used EV or Hydrogen vehicle.
The Background: Late last year, Tesla once again became the hottest selling car in Norway, a country where the Volkswagen Golf had thus far held on firmly to the pole position. But that even happened as far back as September 2013, when the Tesla Model S held a 6.1% market share over the Golf’s 4.9% and the Mazda CX-5’s 4.2%.
There’s no doubt this is an important market for Tesla, which is why it’s surprising that the cries for service help have gone unheeded for so long. It’s possible that Tesla did not foresee the success they’d have, and therefore did not put in a contingency plan for that many sales. The more likely reason is that cash was tight and Norway wasn’t prioritized because of investments in and focus on the Model 3 production.
Either way, Norwegian Tesla owners can now breathe easier knowing that Musk himself has issued this directive. Aside from service center unit growth, they can also hope to see extended service hours, new service shifts and more Mobile Service vehicles on Norway’s roads. Of note is the fact that as of early July 2018, Norway said that it had not received any applications from Tesla to use more service vans, while Musk said that the Norwegian government was holding up the approval process, especially for Oslo.
It now remains to be seen how quickly Tesla can move to make the other changes in light of the fact that the service vans may be delayed until the issue is resolved and approval is granted. As of now, there have been no major changes in the situation, and Norwegian Tesla owners remain in the dark about when the problems will be taken care of for good.