As Audi starts delivering the e-tron all-electric SUV to customers, some reservation holders in Norway are complaining over extra delays in vehicle deliveries. One e-tron reservation holder even reported to Norwegian media that he was faced with a fine when he attempted to cancel his order for the vehicle.
Around 7,000 Norwegians placed reservations for the Audi e-tron since it was unveiled last year, but the deliveries of the all-electric SUV have been slower than expected. Amidst large orders for the vehicle and limited supplies of components such as batteries, Audi has faced challenges in the SUV’s rollout. Roar Lauvstad, a reservation holder for the e-tron, noted in a statement to news publication Tek.no that he had been informed of a possible six-month extra wait time for his order, despite deliveries of the SUV already beginning in the country.
Audi has rolled out a “Fast Track” system for Norway, which allows immediate delivery of the e-tron provided that reservation holders order a specific variant of the SUV. The starting price of the e-tron in the country is listed at around NOK 650,000 (around $74,000), but the “Fast Track” variant, the Audi e-tron 55 Advanced Plus, costs around NOK 840,000 (around $95,000). This, according to Lauvstad, forces reservation holders like himself to either select a more expensive version or wait several more months for the actual variant he selected.
Unfortunately, Lauvstad met an unexpected roadblock when he attempted to cancel his e-tron order. According to the reservation holder, he was informed that be would be facing a fine amounting to 8% of his order’s purchase price. “I could break the contract (or) buy a Fast Track car, but I couldn’t just break the contract. They would then have 8% (around $6,800) of the purchase price of around NOK 750,000 (around $85,000) for breach of contract. So now I’m still waiting,” he said (translated using Google Translate).
Audi’s delays with the rollout of the e-tron come amidst reports that the German automaker is running into issues with the supply of the SUV’s batteries, which are sourced from LG Chem, the same company that provides cells for other EVs like the Porsche Taycan and the Jaguar I-PACE. Citing unnamed sources, The Brussels Times reported last month stated that Audi is only operating the e-tron’s production facilities 6 hours a day. Audi’s plant in Györ, Hungary, which produces the e-tron’s electric motors, are reportedly seeing delays as well, partly due to the effects of a workers’ strike earlier this year.
Audi’s growing pains with the ramp of the e-tron echo some of the struggles that Tesla faced when it was starting the production of its vehicles. The Tesla Model X was noteworthy for being delayed due to its design and over-the-top tech, and the Model 3 ramp was aptly described by Elon Musk as production hell. Based on what Audi is experiencing with the e-tron, it appears that even experienced automakers are bound to go through some pains as they learn how to build competitive electric cars.
One thing that appears to be different between Tesla and Audi is how the companies manage requests for cancelation among reservation holders. While Audi seems to have included a penalty in the fine print of its e-tron reservations, Tesla has allowed order cancellations that are practically worry-free. As noted by Elon Musk, orders for Tesla’s electric cars are still fully refundable even after seven days or 1,000 miles.