Tesla Motors made the first delivery of its premium electric cars in China on Tuesday, but only after chief executive Elon Musk apologised to some customers whose orders had been delayed.
Tesla has made a late entry into the world’s largest automotive market, in part because of its lack of car-charging facilities. The California-based company will only deliver to Chinese customers who have the necessary car charging equipment installed at their homes or offices.
“We’ve delayed some of the customer deliveries just for a few months in order to ensure that when they got their car they would have a great experience and some of them were a bit upset about that,” Mr Musk said. “I met with them earlier today and apologised . . . I think we’ve resolved the issue.”
Tesla was also concerned that customers’ experience could be affected by the lack of a widespread service network for its cars, which it sells directly. However, it is proceeding with deliveries.
“We will ship them the car even if the service centre is pretty far away,” Mr Musk said. “We prefer them to have the car with service that is not going to be as good, rather than wait and have service where we prefer it to be.”
China is the world’s largest market for passenger cars, with 18m units sold last year, but the lack of supporting infrastructure for electric vehicles has dissuaded customers from embracing the environmentally-friendly technology. In the first quarter, carmakers sold fewer than 7,000 electric vehicles.
Read more at Financial Times.