Tesla founder apologizes to customers

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Elon Musk, founder of the California-based electric car company Tesla Motors, made a personal apology to his eager Norwegian customers when he visited Oslo over the weekend. They make up his company’s second-largest market, and he clearly wants them to be happy.

A spate of battery-charging problems in Norway this past winter, though, led to some unhappy Tesla owners until a team of Tesla engineers figured out a solution. The large crowd of customers who responded to an invitation to meet Musk on Saturday offered him lots of feedback, and pretty much made it clear that they still love their Tesla cars.

That includes eye doctor Jens Kratholm of Narvik in northern Norway, who made the trip south to Oslo to meet Musk. He owns seven Tesla cars, “one in every color,” he told newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN), and has no complaints other than the loss of “all my friends at Statoil.”

Kratholm, who ranks as Tesla’s best customer in the world, was also invited to a rather exclusive dinner party Musk hosted in Oslo Friday night for guests who reportedly included the crown prince and crown princess, the head of Norway’s sovereign wealth fund and the top adviser to Norway’s environmental protection minister.

So many customers wanted to attend Saturday’s meeting with Musk that it was moved from the company’s showroom at Skøyen to a theater owned by another Tesla fan. And there they could hear about Tesla’s plans even more recharging stations around the country, and more models.  The new Model E, for example, is due to go into mass production and be ready for sale by 2016. It will be lower-priced than the Roadster and Model S, at around USD 35,000.

Musk said he came to Oslo because he just wanted to make sure his Norwegian customers were satisfied with their cars. “It’s important to have a loyal fan base, and I wanted to show that I care about this personally,” Musk told DN. He also urged government officials to maintain the state’s registration tax exemption on electric cars and the other incentives offered to encourage use of electric cars as an anti-polluting, environmentally friendly option.

newsinenglish.no staff