Tesla’s New Mobile Service Vehicles Will Be Electric…’Bout Time

Tesla Mobile Service


Tesla Mobile Service

Tesla Mobile Service

It was only a matter of time before Tesla would switch to electric vehicles for its Mobile Service, but the more interesting part is how the automaker is going about it.


Model X and Mobile Design Studio

Due to a lack of service centers in some areas, Tesla sends technicians into the field in ICE vans filled with parts and repair equipment. The vans are stocked and the techs are trained on every aspect of the vehicles so that they can fix nearly anything right in your driveway or on the side of the road.

However, having the world’s most significant electric vehicle manufacturer show up in a gas guzzler makes little sense…and it’s not sexy.  Tesla’s President of Global Sales and Service, Jon McNeill, admitted at a recent event in Amsterdam (via Electrek):

“We didn’t think that it was very cool to show up to fix an electric vehicle with a combustion engine van. It really bugged us. Some really savvy technicians on our team figured out how to retrofit Model X to fit all the tooling and parts needed to do service.”

According to Electrek, McNeill revealed that the company is set to begin using special EVs to replace the current ICE work vans. One would think that this might mean electric service vans or something based on the tech that Tesla is working on for its upcoming electric Semi and/or pickup truck. However, this is surely not the case. C’mon … Tesla wouldn’t even think of revealing that technology ahead of its official release.


Tesla’s Tiny House

Instead, some engineers at Tesla came up with a way to modify the Model X and even the Model S to fit all of the necessary equipment and function as mobile service “vans”. It’s crazy to think of how modified a Model S would need to be to fit all of that equipment. Perhaps it will pull a trailer? Even the Model X pales in comparison to the big ICE work van pictured above.

Tesla has used a Model X in the past to pull its Mobile Design Studio, as well as the Tiny House. Maybe it will be a combination of storage within the vehicles and then some type of trailer as well. McNeill said that due to the retrofit, the vehicles will have to be approved for public roads. He believes that we will see the transition sometime next year.

Source: Electrek, Tesla

Categories: Tesla

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34 Comments on "Tesla’s New Mobile Service Vehicles Will Be Electric…’Bout Time"

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Just build the damn electric pickup already.

Trucks need ground clearance. It will be interesting to see how much clearance an EV truck will have with all those batteries underneath.

Have you seen the Bollinger B1? I don’t think batteries and ground clearance is an issue.

Are you seriously for real? If more clearance is needed, RAISE the suspension, even better in combination with bigger wheels.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous


Just build the damn electric pickup already.

Just build the damn electric pickup already.

Just build the damn electric pickup already.

Need 4WD/AWD though…..

Tesla only make AWD. With an electric motor on each axle you can distribute torque dynamically. No need for a conventional ‘dumb’ system.

Model X with some seats removed will store much more than a pickup and protect against weather.

Batteries currently have lower energy density than gas so pickups lose hauling capacity due to heavy batteries. Hauling significant weight also reduces range enormously. Search out stories of Model X hauling a small camping trailer. Sadly, battery tech needs improvement before they can “just build the damn electric pickup”. Expect initial pickup models to be mostly good for local hauling.

Model X weighs 5600lbs, take out the back seats and replace the body with that of a F150 and that reduces weight by about 800lbs, now you have a pickup truck, on the Model X platform that has a curb weight of 4800lbs. You can still reduce weight further by using carbon fiber where possible, saves an additional ~200lbs, which brings us down to 4600lbs.

Now, we weigh just a bit more than Model S, so we should have a range of about 300 miles, with the 100kWh battery, which should be the base for a pickup truck. We could also, increase towing capacity to 6000lbs, because we just got rid of ~1000lbs of weight from the normal Model X. And we would have about 170 miles of range while towing 6000lbs.

Next we would want to use 2170 cells, which AFAIK have higher energy density than the ones used in the Model X at the moment, boost usable battery capacity to 110kWh, so then you get to 320 miles of range without towing, and 190 miles of range at full towing capacity.

By a Mercedes or Nissan BEV van.

They don’t just send them out when there is no service nearby. They said in their recall statement that they will fix your X seatbelts where your car is by sending a van out. And I’ve seen a Model S being fixed in a nearby parking lot with a Tesla van parked next to it even though there are several Tesla repair centers near me (and the factory isn’t far away).

Mobile service makes a bunch of sense for maintenance and other non-emergency service. It’s been used by other car service companies for quite some time. ADAC has had them in some parts of Europe for a decade at least. There was a huge semi trailer parked in a nearby parking lot doing oil changes and such a few years back. It had pop-out sides and stuff like an RV. I never saw it again though, I wonder if the company is still in business.

My 13 yr old pickup is getting long in the tooth. If there were a hybrid version, I’d buy one. Yes, hurry up and address the pickup truck market.

where is the VIA Bob Lutz?

The VIA got stalled at $85,000 apiece.

Chevy could sell the exact truck, R&D already done for them. Just take manufacturing in house and build 150,000/yr..Economies of scale could bring the price down to $50,000 – the approximate price of their current high end truck. But that would cut into their ICE truck gravy train o’ profits.

Trucks are the last thing Ford, GM and FCA want to electrify. They are their bread and butter.

Gospel truth, James. If Bollinger can hit their stride, especially with that innovative front-to-back tunnel thing, eventually, a mainstream ICE manufacturer (Nissan???) will give up on ICE trucks and go for it. As usual, someone small will show them the innovation is possible.

My guess when Tesla makes their pickup ready for demo will be 9 months after the Semi Truck is revealed next month. Model III will be volume production by then. Who knows? Maybe the stuff they are Frankenstein-ing with a Model X for this service vehicle will turn into the next truck. My imagination tells me that they took a Model X chassis, made some cost and space saving modifications (only one falcon-wing door opens, perhaps) and yanked out all but the driver’s seat.

Chevy offered a Silverado Hybrid in 2005. It even included jobsite generation capability.

It had limited gas savings. There was no demand. It was pulled from the market.


(wow, what an awful paint job)

They offered a 2-mode hybrid Silverado in 2013. It had better fuel economy but no jobsite generator capability.

No demand. It was pulled from the market.

People talk a mean streak but it seems that electrified pickups haven’t been a good market.

GM offered a light hybrid pickup on Californua last year on a very limited test basis.

The dealers I called said they put the hybrid system on top line trucks with leather and all the bells. They said at near $60,000 no contractor or fleet owners were interested. They wanted fuel savings, not a dolled up show truck.

You sound as if these light hybrid attempts made sense value-wise. They price them through the roof and at a few measly MPG better than their gas trucks, make absolutely zero sense. That is why they didn’t sell.

Not rocket science.

People always want the best thing for the lowest price. Business doesn’t work that way.

You’re not going to get a more complicated vehicle with more expensive drivetrain for cheap.

Exactly – which is one reason why hybrids are a pointless exercise. Another is that the stats show that plug-in hybrids never get plugged in. Ergo, from the POV of reducing both our dependence on oil and reducing air pollution they make absolutely no sense.

What James said!

Imagine 0-60 times of Tesla truck 2.3, 2.0, 2.1 WOW

They currently use diesel Sprinters.

There would be nothing cooler than a 100 mile AER PHEV Sprinter. Just place the battery packs under the floor between the frame rails.

Like the VIA, the cost would be the deterrent unless they mass produced them.

There is a market Tesla could also beat up on Mercedes with…A full BEV 120kwh pack under the floor work van for the masses!

I’d want the PHEV version for a combo RV/work/all purpose people hauler.

Well since a shipping company (DHL) is able to design and manufacture their own EV vans after being turned down by the idiots at VW, I’m pretty sure Tesla will have no problem making their own EV work vehicles.

That’s right, this particular innovation belongs to postal carriers. Wish that tech. were state-side.

There’s a chance it could happen stateside. See article below, including spy shots of a USPS prototype vehicle from Workhorse Group.

They are one of the only finalists if not the only one with an electric vehicle solution. Here’s to hoping they win. Maybe everyone should write the Postmaster General advocating it…

That is not an electric vehicle.
That is a series hybrid, basically, another gas vehicle.

You are conflating electric vehicles and battery electric vehicles. A series hybrid is very much an electric vehicle.

And with a 60 mile battery-electric range, it can easily handle urban USPS routes without using a drop of gasoline.

Let’s hope the USPS doesn’t make the same basic mistake in vehicle classification that you made here, as it severely undercuts the potential the vehicle has.

That “Tesla Semi” cant come too soon. Maybe throw a few extra sets of batteries in the thing and then it will be good for ranger service. Its uncanny to think: In the four years I owned my Roadster – it used more gasoline per mile of travel than any other vehicle I’ve ever owned. But then it did more traveling on the trailer than it did with me driving it. Unfortunately, the car was only electric while driving it. The trips one Tesla tech made specifically for my car from Green Bay, Wisconsin really ran up the gasoline bill – and that is with my car staying put at my house. So I wholeheartedly agree. They could save a lot of gasoline by using their own electric products for servicing. The smallest TESLA service vehicle I ever saw was a Tahoe sized- SUV. Most of the tow trucks were much larger, but then Tesla decided to economize by taking the opportunity to also deliver Model “S”‘s and also pick those up that needed service and taking them to Columbus, Ohio (from Buffalo, New York). One time was pretty good, It was a “tesla train” – the FIRST trailer had… Read more »



I seriously doubt it’s cost effective to specially retrofit small numbers of a $100K vehicle, not intended for constant commercial use, instead of using some of the already existing PHEV trucks (like the Workhorse step vans some delivery companies use).

THis is stupid.
Tesla really needs to build a sparse van on top of the BASE model 3 or model S frame.
In fact, they should not only build for themselves, but approach Fed-EX, USPO, and local utilities

“’Bout Time”

Totally off-topic, but…

“It’s About Time”. That brings back memories! Just not very good memories.

You write it needs to be approved for the road again, so the modifications are massive. I imagine.
Leave the front door, b pilar, floor with battery pack. Extend the wheel base, add a reinforced rear axle without a motor and build a cargo compartment above it. If the designers worked hard it would funny, but not as a beast or garage conversion.
Or the will build a mule with tesla pickup truck prototype tech and a model X cab. Mules are quite common in car development process.