With all the focus on the new Model 3 dual motor all-wheel-drive and Performance versions, there’s another Tesla announcement that went under the radar.
CEO Elon Musk announced that Tesla owners will ‘soon’ be able to request service through the app and a Tesla ranger will show up to repair the car without paperwork.
Tesla has been increasingly relying on its mobile service fleet to improve its coverage as its customer fleet is rapidly expanding.
The automaker claims that its mobile technicians can fix over 80% of the issues on Tesla’s vehicles without having to bring the cars to a service center. We have even seen a Tesla mobile service unit swap seats in a Model S on site.
As of this year, Tesla says that mobile service is already responsible for 30% of service jobs in North America.
In order to keep improving on that front, Tesla announced plans to triple the service capacity with 1,400 new techs, 350 new service vans, and in-car scheduling.
The in-car scheduling has yet to happen, but now Musk is announcing a new feature to instead request a Tesla mobile service unit from your mobile app:
Tesla used to refer to its mobile technicians as ‘Tesla Rangers’, but it has since changed to ‘Tesla Mobile Service’.
The automaker has mostly been using gas-powered vans for the service, but it is now transitioning to its own modified vehicles.
Jon McNeill, Tesla’s former President of Global Sales and Services, announced that the new mobile service vehicles were coming at an event last year.
When talking about Tesla’s current mobile vans, McNeill said:
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.
They started modifying Model S and Model X vehicles to fit all the necessary equipment to become Tesla Mobile Service units.
We took a closer look at one of the mobile service Model S vehicles earlier this year.
In order to optimize the use of its service capacity, Tesla is also working on better remote diagnostic tools.
Musk said that Tesla is working on cool one using your phone:
All those new service initiatives are coming as Tesla’s customer fleet is growing at a record pace and all of the automaker’s infrastructure need to keep up.
Tesla has made some very good improvements to its service capacity over the last year and we are hearing fewer complaints from owners on that front.
We are starting to see more of the advantages of having an automaker-owned service network focused on customers spending as little time as possible in service.
On that front, we are still hearing complaints of long wait times for Tesla owners.
Last year, Tesla announced plans to ‘add 300 body shops to its network’ and they put in place a new program to follow some of the longer cases in order to make sure they don’t fall through the cracks, but it looks like the plan might have been put on the back-burner as Tesla focuses on opening its own body shops.
Third-party shops blamed long delays on Tesla not sending the parts, while Tesla blamed the delays on the body shops.
They will not be able to blame it on anyone if they have their own body shops, but we will have to wait and see if it actually ends up reducing wait times.
The first Tesla body shops are supposed to open by the end of the year.