Published on August 17th, 2019 | by Kyle Field0
The Future Of Tesla’s Mobile Service Fleet
August 17th, 2019 by Kyle Field
Tesla continues to ramp up its Mobile Service fleet, with a mix of existing Ford Transit vans, Model S sedans, and a few Model X SUVs. The Ford Transit vehicles that have comprised the majority of Tesla’s service fleet since its inception cost $80,000 to set up, but that price tag turns the empty shell of a van into an extremely dense, highly effective mobile service station for Tesla’s vehicles. More recently, the company has started repurposing a few Model S vehicles coming back from lease as mobile service vehicles.
Tesla currently runs the vans out of each service center, the vans’ home base, and adds more vehicles as customer density in the area increases. This allows Tesla to quickly and affordably scale up its service capability with very little capital outlay. At the same time, performing mobile service at a customer’s home or office is far easier for the customer. This is the kind of “little thing” that leads to happier customers and more word-of-mouth sales.
The Model S sedans are not as effective as service vehicles, according to one of Tesla’s service technicians, as the sedan layout is simply not ideal for the job. This results in technicians playing a game of virtual Tetris to get parts and tools in and out of the vehicles. Vans, on the other hand, are well suited to the task and have been designed and built as effective tools in the field.
In a recent mobile service visit to fix a faulty electromechanical driver’s side door latch in my Model 3, the visit took all of about 15 minutes of my time to open up the garage and chat with the tech for a few minutes. Doing the same at even the closest mechanic or dealership would take that much time just to drive there, let alone to check in and wait around for the work to be done.
Tesla is starting to repurpose Model X lease returns for its mobile service fleet as well, which will surely make better donor cars than the Model S. The ability to open the falcon-wing doors and the rear hatch provides much better access to the spacious interior than the Model S does and allows for much larger items and tools to be stored inside.
Looking to the future, it is easy to see a fleet of Tesla’s soon-to-be-announced electric pickup trucks roaming around cities to service customer vehicles. Indeed, the high mileage Tesla puts on its service vehicles each year would make using its own trucks a great option to break in the first thousand Tesla Model P trucks (P for pickup) that come off the production line.
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