Tesla’s reliability improvements have been helping capacity needs at its service centers, but the recent increase in Model X deliveries added a strain on the workload. A lot of early units need some tuning, which in turn require to free up service hours at Tesla service centers in order to fulfill regular service appointments to perform repairs.
Some Tesla owners are complaining about weeks or sometimes even months of wait time. Jon McNeil, Tesla President, said that he is aware of the issue, which he referred to as a “challenge”, and that Tesla introduced ‘fast lanes’ at service centers to “address minor issues in an expedited way.”
Tesla’s President made the comment – using the alias ‘Jonmc’ confirmed to be his by Electrek – in a TMC thread in which some owners were complaining about the wait times:
“We are listening. The Bay Area has been challenged and we are increasing capacity with centers, technicians and a better process to minimize wait times. We’ve also increased loaner availability. Each service center now has a ‘fast lane’ to address minor issues in an expedited way. If you are experiencing an issue that you feel needs to be escalated, please private message me here and my team work to resolve it for you. We want you to be completely happy with your service experience.”
The ‘fast lanes’ aim to curb overall wait times by freeing up service time and making sure the minor issues don’t become a bottleneck for the entire service center. It looks like the system could have been inspired by the efficiency of Formula One pit stops.
Last year, Tesla hired Kenny Handkammer, 25-year F1 veteran and former Red Bull Racing chief mechanic, to lead new service programs as Global Director of Service Innovation.
Several aspects of Tesla’s service operations are different from established automakers. Firstly, Tesla owns all its service centers, unlike other automakers using the dealership franchise model. Also under their model, Tesla doesn’t aim to make a profit on service and CEO Elon Musk is on record saying that he thinks it’s “terrible” to make a profit on service.
It’s a fundamentally different approach to service and therefore, it’s not surprising the company would try innovative service programs.