Tesla CEO Elon Musk saw it coming over a year ago. He thought that as Model 3 production increases, the delivery process would actually become the bottleneck to get cars to customers.
The automaker has been experiencing with different methods to deliver cars faster and now they are trying a new ‘Sign and Drive’ program for pick up appointments to get new Model 3 buyers out the door in 5 minutes.
When buying a vehicle from Tesla, or from most other automakers, especially when it is a custom ordered vehicle, the delivery process consists of taking care of some paperwork and then an employee will give you a walkthrough of the car before you get on your way.
From my own Tesla buying experience and others that I have witnessed, it can vary from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the level of details the customer wants to get into.
With the volume of deliveries Tesla planned to handle with Model 3, Musk saw it as a potential issue.
In early 2017, he discussed the issue during a call with investors:
“The delivery of the cars is where the investment is needed. We need to deliver three or four times as many cars. But we don’t want to have three or four times as many delivery centers. How do we make that delivery process more streamlined, less paperwork, less bureaucracy and get people really ahead of time with really well-produced instruction videos for how to use their car. And well, of course, the best instruction is like not having instructions. And you will actually be able to play all of the instructions needed for your car on your car.”
The goal was to reduce the delivery time to just about 5 minutes.
Tesla is now experimenting with this model as some Model 3 buyers are reporting being offered a new ‘Sign and Drive’ pick up appointments that can get them in and out in 5 minutes.
The automaker describes the process in an email to customers:
Learn about your Model 3: You’ll be driving home in as little as 5 minutes from your arrival, so please review the following resources below before your appointment until you are confident and ready to drive off:
- Watch Model 3 Tutorial Videos
- Review Model 3 Owner’s Manual
- Visit your local Tesla Showroom for any additional questions
WHILE YOU”RE HERE
Sign & Drive Pickup Appointment
- Check In
- Paperwork Signing
- 5 minute Vehicle Handoff in which we will show you the essentials to enjoy your drive home:
- Charging Bundle
- Key Access
- Vehicle Start/Stop
Tesla has produced 9 short videos to show different features of the Model 3 in preparation for this program.
For example, here’s Tesla’s video for gear selection in the Model 3:
Tesla produced similar videos for Model S and Model X, but we have so far not heard from new buyers going through this ‘Sign & Drive’ 5-minute pick up appointment for those vehicles.
Now that Tesla has been producing vehicles at 5,000 units per week, some Tesla stores and delivery hubs are receiving significant batches of Model 3 vehicles that they need to move from their lots:
This delivery process is likely going to facilitate that, but it remains to be seen how customers will respond to it.
Many but not all Tesla Model 3 buyers have been waiting for a long time for the car and they have been researching it a lot.
By the time they can take delivery, they are often very familiar with it even though it’s often the first time they see one in person.
Therefore, I think most people will be fine with the videos replacing the typical walkthrough, but I think it’s imperative that customers have the time to do a little quality check before leaving with the vehicle.
Tesla has been known for letting things slip and not catching finish defects before delivery from time to time.
It’s not something that necessarily takes a lot of time, but I doubt most people can get it done within 5 minutes on top of the other things like paperwork.
Hopefully, there’s some flexibility to this new effort to bring the delivery time down. Tesla has been testing out other things too like a new pop-up ‘delivery center’ concept and a ‘group delivery’ service.
What do you think of this new pick up program? Let us know in the comment section below.