Tesla Adding Mobile Technicians In Preparation For Model 3
To assure that Tesla has enough service capacity to handle the upcoming Model 3, the automaker is adding more Tesla mobile rangers.
Not long ago we reported that Tesla would be streamlining its training process so that existing techs could get the necessary updates, and new techs could be trained without the expense and hassle associated with having to travel. Tesla is also always working to add and update service centers. However, the company has come to the conclusion that there’s a better way to handle quick growth, and it’s surely more consumer-friendly.
Tesla already employs over-the-air updates, which can take care of many issues. EVs in general have much less regular maintenance as well. Major collision repairs are expected to take longer, regardless of the automaker, and in that case, cars would obviously go to a service center, and Tesla would provide a loaner. But what about all the minor fixes that are sure to pop up on the multitude of Tesla Model 3s that will soon be on our roadways? A Tesla letter to investors states:
“Since more than 80 percent of our repairs are so minor that they can be done remotely, we are expanding our mobile repair service that allows Tesla to make vehicle repairs at an owner’s home or office.”
Tesla currently has 67 U.S. service centers in 25 states. To expand this to a reasonable number, and even to have a single center in every state, will take a substantial amount of time and energy.
Tesla is delivering its first Model 3 vehicles to Tesla and SpaceX employees, in an attempt catch any early issues, without having to deal with a recall. A former assistant service manager at Tesla in Houston, Nick Rodgers, shared with Automotive News:
“When you have a new model coming out, you want to do all of your case studies and technical work to make sure [any problem with a vehicle is] not a wide-scale problem. You can’t do that in a customer’s driveway.”
However, he said that the mobile service was perfect for his customers, but adding technicians is crucial.
“It worked great for us in the Houston area.”
“Houston is a large area, and within that area there weren’t even 15 technicians. With that many cars rolling out, they’re going to have to beef up their facilities quite a bit.”
A Pittsburgh Tesla owner had firsthand experience with the mobile service, and he told Autonews that it was tough to beat. At the time, Model S owner Matt Simmons would have had to travel two hours to the nearest service center. When a larger repair was needed, the mobile ranger helped Simmons send the car to the Cleveland service center and secure a loaner. Simmons said:
“On the one hand, Tesla was running him quite hard around the area leading up to our getting a service center. But on the other hand, I always found him to be available and it was nice being on a first-name basis with my service tech, having his cellphone number and knowing he’d be reachable.”
As expected, there are still skeptics. The mobile service received rave reviews initially, but it has not grown fast enough, and the automaker has added charges to transport vehicles to service centers. Mercedes attempted a mobile service program years ago, but it never worked out. President of automotive consultancy Edwards & Associates Consulting Inc., Larry Edwards, explained:
“When demand starts growing, I can only imagine what it would cost to have multiple technicians and all the parts necessary available on the road. It’s an expensive proposition.”
Keep in mind, however, that the mass amount of infrastructure needed to build new service centers all over the globe is not cheap. The same can be said for the need for ‘multiple technicians’ and ‘parts necessary’. Add to this a substantial amount of construction, zoning, permits, etc. It’s a massive scale. For now, the Silicon Valley electric car maker can expand its ‘Ranger’ service fairly quickly, especially in areas with the most need.
Source: Automotive News