Tesla CEO @ElonMusk took to Twitter to admit that Tesla had found some gaps in its global service center coverage and is now hard at work to improve its coverage over the next 3–6 months.
Specifically, Elon shared that Tesla would push to ensure full coverage of North America with its service centers over the next 3–6 months. Looking ahead, he shared that Tesla would be working to ensure similar levels of coverage in all countries where Tesla has operations by the end of 2019.
The news comes on the heels of Tesla’s successful ramp up of production and deliveries of the Model 3 which saw tens of thousands of Teslas sent out into geographies that hadn’t seen much action in the past. The latest wave of woes for Tesla started when its Model 3 went into production in June of 2017 and was followed by a full year of production hell.
Tesla and Elon pulled out all the stops to reach the target production rate of 5,000 Model 3s per week — and they did. The herculean effort required flying in new production lines from Germany, building a new general assembly line in a “tent” in the back lot of Tesla’s Fremont factory, and calling all hands on deck to put the hurt on the production lines and force them to comply with the will of Elon.
Emerging from the darkness, Tesla’s production troubles quickly morphed into birthing pains as Tesla’s delivery teams across the US choked on the 3× increase in deliveries. Deliveries of the Model 3 are spread across a distributed network of stores spanning the United States, making it difficult to quickly deploy improvements and standards.
Just the same, Tesla calmed the storm over the course of a couple of weeks as minor production issues and the overblown panel gap issues were tuned out on the production lines. In parallel, delivery teams improved their pre-delivery check processes and squeezed out most of the delivery issues.
The look at service centers is a look at the inevitable flow of Tesla’s vehicles that will either be forced in for service after an accident or require service for something that’s just not quite right in the car. That can be something as small as replacing a door handle all the way on up to the replacement of a full drive unit.
The flow of Model 3s out into the wild will result in a similar spike in requests for service at Tesla’s service centers, though the tail of requests will lag behind deliveries, as accidents and some other service requests don’t happen on a schedule.
Elon Musk and the team at Tesla started working on service center service times a few weeks back, as soon as Model 3 customers started voicing complaints of lengthy service times, with waits of several months for repairs being the norm. As part of the push, Tesla brought body shop work in-house at a few key locations in an attempt to streamline the repair process for its vehicles.
Early reports on the new service were positive, with some customers getting their repaired vehicles back in just a few hours. Same day turnaround is still far from the norm, but it showed that Tesla was working towards solutions and had some results to show for its early efforts.
Today’s tweets from Elon confirm that there is still work to do just to achieve the critical mass of service centers that would be required to get Tesla’s cars serviced. Beyond the base coverage, there is still work to do to ensure that all of its service center personnel are sufficiently trained and that the centers have the parts needed to get its vehicles repaired in a reasonable amount of time.
Tesla has pushed the envelope in just about every piece of its business, and service is no exception, as it has historically utilized its service teams to come pick up vehicles for service, leaving a loaner vehicle with the owner. Doing this drastically reduces the amount of effort required from the owner and from personal experience, it makes service all but a non-issue.
That wasn’t good enough so Tesla kept on innovating, deploying a roaming network of repair personnel, which it calls Rangers, that were trained and equipped to fix just about any issue on a Tesla that didn’t require a lift. That was estimated to be around 80% of all repairs and Tesla delivered in spades.
I utilized Tesla’s Ranger service to have the door handles on our Model S replaced. The service went off without a hitch and was actually a great experience. Tesla had already committed to doubling its mobile service fleet by the end of this year and the renewed focus on service center coverage is surely a part of its efforts to ensure timely and efficient service for all of its customers.
With every new day, there comes a new challenge. Today, it’s service center coverage; tomorrow, the moon!! Okay, so maybe Mars is the target, but the moon sounded better.