Norway has become an EV Mecca of sorts thanks to generous incentives for electric car owners, though this has led to a sales bottleneck for the country’s most popular car, the Tesla Model S. The International Business Times highlights how Tesla’s lack of production has somewhat hindered the company.
The Model S has now been on sale in Norway for a full year, and the IBT chart below shows that Tesla sales go through fits and spurts. For example, in January Tesla delivers just 132 cars to Norwegian customers, but in March total deliveries surged to a record 1,493 vehicles. When taken as a whole, Model S sales have averaged about 436 units per month, making it Tesla’s most popular foreign market. This is because Tesla ships the Model S over to its Netherlands Assembly facility in kits, apparently once every other month.
Final assembly is completed and the cars are delivered to customers, most of whom are located in Norway as comparable luxury cars cost twice as much due to a tax structure based on emissions and engine size. This has made the Model S a huge hit with Norway’s wealthier residents, who see the Model S as both a luxury car bargain and a statement of support for the environment. While there has been talk about reining in some of these incentives, people are still lining up to buy the Model S.
Thankfully a recent retooling of the Tesla factory in Fremont, California has further increased weekly production capacity to about 2,500 units a week, or 10,000 vehicles a month. While half of the production lines will likely be devoted to the upcoming Tesla Model X (which itself has a 20,000 reservation backlog), the extra capacity could help smooth out deliveries in Norway and other overseas markets. This would make for happier customers and a smooth flow of capital back to the parent company.
If Tesla really wants to play with the big boys, they’re going to have to go through a lot more growing pains. Early adopters might not mind waiting two or three months to take delivery of their electric cars, but if Elon Musk really wants to go mass market with Tesla, production will have to keep pace with demand.