Electric cars from US-based Tesla Motors have become wildly popular in Norway, but their owners have been running into recharging problems since winter finally set in a few weeks ago. One Tesla owner found himself stranded on Christmas Eve with a dead battery, 150 kilometers from the nearest recharging station.
Norwegian motorists have embraced electric cars in general, and Tesla in particular, not least because the climate-friendly cars can be used in the lanes otherwise reserved for the bus and taxis, and they get a variety of other advantages in a country where automobiles are usually hit with punitive taxes to discourage car use. The trendy Tesla Model S luxury sedan can nonetheless cost up to NOK 800,000 (USD 130,000) in Norway, with all extras, and has become a status symbol of sorts. The cars are seen as very cool, while also giving off an image of climate consciousness.
Some, however, have gone from cool to ice cold since temperatures plummeted in southern Norway, where Tesla has its biggest Norwegian customer base. Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported over the weekend that increasing numbers of Tesla owners are complaining about problems recharging the cars in Norway, especially when temperatures drop well below the freezing point.
Tesla has confirmed the problems with recharging the cars when thermometers fall under zero, and online debate pages have been full of owners’ problems with the cars’ recharging cables. “We’re trying hard to resolve this,” Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen, Tesla’s sales chief for the Nordic and Benelux countries and the UK, told DN. “We’re sorry, and don’t like how Norwegian customers are suffering.
The problem is tied to the recharging cables that come with the Model S cars, because they don’t hold the charge in cold weather. DN reported that Tesla engineers have contacted affected customers, and were conducting tests in an effort to ensure more stable recharging.
On Monday, Tesla spokesman Esben Pedersen told DN the cars’ recharging system was “too sensitive” for the Norwegian electricity network. “We’re not saying there’s anything wrong with the Nowegian network,” Pedersen said, but added it’s a “challenge” because it’s “different” than the networks in other countries. Tesla technicians, according to DN, were sending out updated programs to customers for use when recharging.