Published on July 27th, 2018 | by Carolyn Fortuna0
Tesla Improves Service In Norway As Plug-In Sales Continue To Climb
July 27th, 2018 by Carolyn Fortuna
Earlier this week, we wrote about pervasive service repair problems that were being reported by Tesla Norway owners. While the all-electric carmaker had experienced record growth in the country that purchases more electric vehicles (EVs) than any other, Tesla’s strained distribution and service centers have meant long lines and complaints to authorities. We contacted our Norwegian CleanTechnica reader on the ground, Leif Hansen, who supplied us with some updates about Tesla Norway and we’re pleased to share that the news is good.
Tesla Norway Service Problems Becoming a Memory
Leif acknowledged that “Tesla did have a problem” [emphasis from Lief]. Lief started us off by sending along an article from E24, a Norwegian newspaper, that offered a bit of background into the Tesla Norway dilemma. Tesla’s tremendous sales growth is noted as a starting point.
“Tesla Motors Norway AS had revenues of NOK 6,819 million in 2017, up from NOK 2,858 million the year before. It shows figures from the annual accounts, obtained from the Brønnøysund Registers. The company is the Norwegian subsidiary of Tesla Inc and carries out sales, marketing, distribution, and engineering services for the American car giant.”
Tesla’s sales surge is a by-product of the country’s fascination with all things EV. “The interest in whole-electric family cars took off in 2017 in Norway,” Even Roland, Communications Manager for Tesla Norway told E24. “It is very good news for the company, which had a huge revenue growth last year.”
Reports earlier this month indicated that it had, “become known that the Consumer Council has registered a significant increase in Tesla cars.” There are, “especially late deliveries, technical issues, and customer service that are being complained of.”
The communications manager told E24 that Tesla Norway was ranked fourth domestically in a customer satisfaction survey that served as a Norwegian customer barometer this year. The company seemed to have exceeded its capacity “as a result of high pressure.” E24 related how Tesla CEO Elon Musk wrote last month on Twitter about the justified ennui that Tesla Norway owners were experiencing.
Norwegians are right to be upset with Tesla. We are having trouble expanding our service facilities in Oslo especially. Can solve quickly with Tesla mobile service vans, but awaiting govt permission to do so.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 5, 2018
Now the Turnaround in Updates from Tesla Norway
Our reader-on-the-ground in Norway, Leif, expressed to us that the more recent news from Tesla Norway is quite optimistic. “As always, from my experience, Tesla reacts very swiftly, fast, and with determination!” Lief said.
Here are some reasons within E24‘s Tesla Norway analysis that support Leif’s assessment as to why the company’s resilience is evident in the Norwegian marketplace. All figures in NOK.
- Tesla promised to address the service problems this winter.
- “The increase in the number of employees led to a rise in labor costs from 307.6 million in 2016 to 429.5 million in 2017.” As a result, the company intends to increase the number of employees in service departments. “The annual accounts show that at the beginning of the year there were 539 full-time employees. This is up 130 from the year before. “
- Increased costs will be offset by operating profits, which “increased by 19.8 million to 52.5 million. Operating expenses were at 6,766.8 million in 2017 compared to 2,827.3 million the previous year. The profit for the year was 29 million after the company paid 18.7 million in tax and had a net loss of 4.8 million. This means that the profit for the year is more than four times as high as last year’s total of 6.4 million.”
- A relatively short delivery time on Model S and Model X is important to local customers.
- “User-friendly technology, the Supercharger network, and ample space are among the most important reasons why customers come to us,” said Tesla Norway communications manager Even Roland.
Leif Hansen added that, “they are building new service centers in many locations, dedicated trucks for fast services, etc.,” which increases the value proposition for Tesla’s customers in Norway.
The Future for EVs from Tesla Norway and around the World
E24 notes that the sale of luxury cars, and especially Tesla models, continues to rise sharply. Using figures from the Road Traffic Advisory Board, obtained from Finansavisen, the newspaper outlined how last year’s EV growth was 28% to 10,010 cars. “It accounts for 16.5% of total car sales.”
That percentage is significant, as the Norwegian ambition is that only EVs will be sold starting in 2025.
Indeed, the country is well-positioned to achieve that goal, as Norway has wholeheartedly embraced EVs with sales of hybrids, plug-in hybrids (PHEV), and pure EVs shooting passed 50% — to 57% — in 2017. Plug-in vehicle sales are already exceeded 50% in December 2017 and March 2018, putting the country far ahead of others around the world.
March 2018 was a good month for clean transportation in Norway, as 5,322 new electric cars were registered in the country along with 4 hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. Across all 14,401 new vehicles sold in Norway, the average carbon dioxide emissions was 63 grams per kilometer. That’s 22 grams per kilometer lower than in March, 2017.
The shift away from pure fossil-fuel engines has been so fast that 2017 sales of cars using some form of electric battery power topped out at 52%, according to the Norwegian Road Federation (OFV). The OFV helps Norwegians to understand the rapidly changing transportation industry. For example, it offered a primer in EV battery degradation in July, 2018.
“Current lithium-ion technology allows batteries to be charged between 1,000 and 1,500 times. A car with a bigger battery will be affected less by degradation than a car with a smaller battery. A Tesla, for instance, can travel 300 km on a single charge. Even when it has 150,000 km on the odometer, the battery has only been charged 500 times. That leaves at least another 150.000 km for the battery to become degraded. So the fact Tesla forums report that Model S cars lose less than 10 percent of their battery capacity after 160,000 km should not come as a big surprise.”
Norway’s oil-rich economy allows for high wages, hence Tesla sales, but the real push toward luxury EVs has been made possible by a huge sales tax exemption and incentive program.
Earlier this year, Norway opened the world’s largest fast-charging station, which can charge up to 28 vehicles in about half an hour. With rapid technological advances and strong government support for EVs in Norway, it seems clear that a new era in electromobility is dawning – and that this time, there’s more to the prediction than industry optimism.
“It works, absolutely,” says Martin Norman of Greenpeace Norway, who has driven an EV since 2004. “It’s clearly feasible, especially in urban areas. We’ve found that the range of EVs is enough for most of what people need.” And since 98% of Norway’s electricity comes from hydropower, the country’s expanding EV fleet leaves almost no carbon footprint.
The forward movement in EVs is good for Norwegians, Tesla, and the planet.
Shout-out to Leif Hansen — keep those leads coming, friend!