OSLO Oct 9 Tesla Motor Inc.'s
all-electric Model S became the top-selling car in Norway last
month, with drivers in the country of 5 million people paying a
premium to buy the award-winning luxury car second-hand to avoid
having to wait five months for a new one, dealers said on
The high performance Tesla S, which went on sale in Europe
in August, had a market share in Norway of 5.1 percent last
month, pushing the conventionally-powered Volkswagen
Golf into second place with 4.6 percent, according to the latest
With a claimed top speed of 125 miles per hour and
acceleration of 0-60 miles per hour in 5.4 seconds and a range
of around 300 miles that far outstrips other all-electric cars,
the Model S is already a best seller in the United States, with
an estimated 14,300 sales made there so far this year.
Some drivers in Norway are now willing to pay as much as
$20,000 extra to get the new Model S from existing owners.
"There has been an enormous demand for this car, and it
doesn't seem to stop. We have a lot of customers on the waiting
list right now," said Joar Tenfjord, the head of Tesla's
dealership in Bergen, Norway's second largest city.
Electric cars have been especially popular in Norway because
of generous subsidies, free parking, government-provided
re-charging stations, the right to use express lanes on highways
and exemptions from tolls.
"You get great value for your money with the Model S in
Norway," Tenfjord said. "It is a spacious car ... and it is also
A new Tesla Model S costs $110,000-$117,000 in Norway's
notoriously expensive car market, well above the $70,000 it
costs in the United States, but existing owners willing to part
with their car could get $130,000 for them, Tenfjord said.
Currently only 12 of the new Teslas are available on
Finn.no, Norway's top classified website with asking prices of
up to $130,000.
"I have noticed that some people make a very nice profit on
these cars," Tenfjord said. "The demand is extreme."
One of those secondhand buyers, 27-years-old financial
consultant Anders Langset, said a regular car with similar
performance and engine size could have cost him up to 2 million
crowns ($330,000) because of the punitive taxes Norway's
government levies on cars with big, gas-guzzling engines.
"I paid more for a second-hand car than I would have paid if
I bought it when it was new, but the demand is so high that I am
sure I would get my money back and then some if I sold it again
today", Langset told Reuters.
"I made a bet with my brother and father about who could get
the car first, so I really enjoyed beating them," he said.
A BMW Series 5 sells in the $100,000-$115,000
range in Norway, below the Model S, but its internal combustion
engine is less powerful. Cars with conventional engines of
similar power would typically retail for $200,000 and above as
taxes are levied on engine size and some car makers actually
sell their vehicles with smaller engines in Norway than the rest
of Europe to keep them affordable.
Meanwhile no immediate effect has been seen on Norwegian
demand for the Model S after last week's video emerged showing a
Model S on fire after an accident near Seattle, which slightly
dented this year's meteoric rise in Tesla's share price.
"We have had some questions from customers but it appears to
have been a one-off and it has in no way reduced demand,"
Tesla said the fire stemmed from a "highly uncommon
occurrence" after the car was driven over a "large, oddly shaped
metal object" which punched a hole through the quarter-inch
armour plate protecting the lithium-ion battery pack, and that
had it been a gasoline-powered car "the result could have been