Tesla meets some trouble in Norway

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Tesla electric cars remain wildly popular in Norway, not least because of major tax incentives on zero-emission cars in the country, but not all owners are happy. One man who bought a Tesla Model X claims a rear door has suddenly opened when temperatures dipped down to zero, while a group of investors are moving forward with a class-action lawsuit after Tesla’s stated horsepower didn’t measure up.

Teslas and other electric vehicles remain wildly popular in Norway, where huge tax incentives cut their costs. Norway now boasts one of the largest markets in the world for electric cars, but some problems have cropped up for Tesla owners when temperatures fall below freezing. PHOTO: El-bil forening

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Friday that a Norwegian man who didn’t want to be publicly identified has written a letter to state highway authorities, asking them to evaluate “whether Model X as a car model shall be driven on Norwegian roads.”

He had just bought a new Tesla Model X last winter and headed for the mountains. When the temperature sank and hit the freezing point, the vehicle’s rear door on the right suddenly opened at a speed of 78 kilometers per hour (47 mph).

“That led to noise, draft and not least the fear that something would fall out (of the vehicle),” he wrote in his email to highway authority Statens vegvesenet in December. He wrote that he had reported the error to Tesla four times in 2017, in January, February, November and December.

“Tesla’s own employees said they are aware of the problem, but that there’s no solution,” he wrote, 18 months after the Model X began being delivered in Norway. NRK reported that Tesla’s Model X was the most-sold car in Norway this past December, and the fourth most-sold in all of 2017, with total sales of 4,748. A total of 8,460 Teslas of all types were registered in Norway last year, up 143 percent from 2016.

Window-washing problems, too
The unhappy Tesla owner has also complained that his Tesla’s windshield-wipers don’t function properly either, because washer fluid isn’t directed at the area right in front of the driver. “Visibility is reduced so much that I consider the car to be dangerous in traffic,” he wrote.

Even Sandvold Roland, communications chief for Tesla Norge, denied being aware of other occasions when doors open while the car is moving. He told NRK the company was trying to address its customer’s complaints and apologized that it took so long to find a solution. A new “update” of the windshield-wipers is now available, based on feedback from Norwegian customers that has been used to improve “several functions,” Roland said.

Officials at the state highway authority have also asked Tesla to account for the problems, and make sure they’re fixed. All vehicles licensed in Norway must be approved to operate on Norwegian roads. Erik Sætre, an engineer for the state at Vegdirektoratet, told NRK that the Tesla Model X has an EU approval from the Netherlands that’s valid in Norway, but window washers, wipers and door locks haven’t been tested in sub-freezing temperatures. “Theoretically things can come up under other temperatures than what the car was tested under, but as a rule, the carmaker unveils such weaknesses and takes them seriously,” Sætre told NRK.

Another lawsuit over lack of horsepower
Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that a group of 79 owners of a Tesla Model S, meanwhile, are moving forward with another lawsuit over horsepower that’s not as high as it was billed as being. The lawsuit comes in addition to one filed by 38 Tesla owners, reported by newspaper Finansavisen, plus 133 Model S buyers who won compensation of around NOK 60,000 (USD 7,600 at current exchange rates) after suing in 2016.

“I think Tesla is just super, it’s the finest car I’ve ever owned,” one of the plaintiffs, Norwegian industrialist Jens Ulltveit-Moe, told DN. “What I’m not so satisfied with is that they specified a car with enormous horsepower that it doesn’t have because the battery isn’t powerful enough. I think it’s OK with a class-action suit to clear this up.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund