Tesla Motors Inc. (NADAQ:TSLA) did much better in Norway last month than it did in October, when deliveries of its Model S dropped significantly from the previous month.
November deliveries of the luxury electric sedan to the environmentally progressive country came in at 527 units, according to OFV, Norway’s automotive association. This is a leap from the 98 cars delivered in October, which was a big drop from September’s 606 units.
Tesla began selling its critically acclaimed vehicle in Norway in August, and early deliveries there are certain to have a significant number of pre-order sales collected by Tesla over the past year from eager early adopters.
November’s Model S sales data indicate that October’s lackluster volume is due to Tesla’s current battery cell supply problems that have constrained Tesla’s ability to meet current demand.
“The main constraint on our production is really the cells,” CEO Elon Musk said during a Nov. 5 conference call following the company’s third-quarter earnings report. Each Model S contained thousands of lithium-ion cells manufactured by Panasonic Corp. (TYO:6752). Tesla recently signed a deal with the Osaka, Japan-based electronics manufacturer to acquire 2 billion of these cells through 2017, enough to manufacture well over 250,000 vehicles.
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Norway has been a focal point of Tesla’s recent European expansion because the country has a high number of wealthy households that can afford a car with a starting price tag of 69,440 euros ($94,341) excluding any government incentives. In Norway those incentives are very attractive as they can push the local price of an EV below that of a comparable petrol-burner. EV owners in Norway also enjoy perks like free parking and ferry rides.
Sales figures for the Tesla Model S are more difficult to come by than figures for established vehicle brands. Tesla releases approximated figures quarterly, so tracking Tesla’s total monthly sales volume is tricky, because not every country reports Tesla model sales volume.
Germany, for example, still doesn’t list Tesla separately. The country’s Federal Motor Vehicle Office says only that 757 electric vehicles were delivered last month, a 146 percent increase from November 2012. The U.K.’s Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders also doesn’t list Tesla sales, but it reported only 35 imported vehicle deliveries last month. Denmark’s auto imports trade association does list Tesla: 32 Model S sedans were sold there last month, for a total of 79 sold there to date.
Like Norway, the Netherlands does list Telsa Model S sales. The country’s Bicycle and Automobile Industry Association data shows a similar drop in Model S sales in October, to 32 units, followed by a steep increase last month to 408 units. Tesla has sold 618 of its vehicles in the first three months of sales in Holland, far outpacing other EVs in the market.