In just two weeks, Tesla will start delivery of the Model 3, its long-awaited $35,000 sedan. After handing over the first 30 sets of keys, Elon Musk will hustle back to the factory, where he hopes to build 20,000 more of the'affordable' electric cars by the end of 2017. Then production really accelerates: Musk has pledged to build 500,000 cars in 2018, more than double the total number of vehicles that Tesla has sold, to date. Even if Tesla can deliver all those cars, cashing checks is but a tiny part of building an automotive business. Perhaps the bigger challenge for the Silicon Valley outfit is building the infrastructure that will keep its cars charged, and fix them when they break.
Tesla just completed its first batch of Model 3s and 30 cars are scheduled to be in their owners' hands on the 28th. But with an estimated 400,000 orders waiting to be filled, Tesla's production ramp up is going to put many more Model 3s on the road in the very near future. In preparation for those added vehicles and the demand they're sure to put on Tesla service centers, the company is working to expand its service facilities. According to Tesla, it will be adding 100 new service centers, hiring 1400 more service technicians and tripling its service capacity worldwide. Remote diagnostic capabilities allow around 90 percent of potential car troubles to be identified outside of a service center and to address offsite issues, Tesla is adding over 350 service vans to its mobile fleet.
As Tesla Inc. TSLA -0.46% begins a pivotal launch of its first mass-market car, the company said it plans to triple its capacity to repair vehicles, adding 1,400 technicians, dozens of new service centers and hundreds of maintenance vans that can be dispatched to an owner's home. The Silicon Valley auto maker started production last week of the Model 3, a $35,000 sedan that Chief Executive Elon Musk is betting will boost Tesla's production to 500,000 vehicles next year from 84,000 last year. The surge of cars--coupled with any possible mechanical glitches that could arise with a new model--would likely tax a small network of about 150 Tesla service centers around the world. Over the next 12 months, Tesla plans to add another 100 service centers world-wide, according to a company executive. But since most of the repairs are routine and can be done remotely, Tesla will expand its fleet of service vans by 350 this year from several dozen currently, the executive said.
Tesla Motors Inc. fired back at allegations of suspension problems on its mainstay electric Model S and disputed claims that it asked customers to sign agreements not to talk to federal regulators. In a statement posted to its website late Thursday night, the Palo Alto-based electric car company said there are no safety defects with the car and that it has cooperated fully with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration since the agency inquired about the car's suspensions on April 20. The agency said Thursday that it is "examining a potential suspension issue on the Tesla Model S, and is seeking additional information from vehicle owners and the company." Tesla said that because it owns all its service centers, it's aware of every incident or repair. "Whenever there is even a potential issue with one of those parts, we investigate fully," Tesla said.
What good is owning a car if you can't actually drive it? Some Tesla owners across the country are asking themselves that very question after collisions sent their electric vehicles to the shop -- where the cars remained, and remained, and remained. Elon Musk's Tesla has wowed fans and critics alike for the speed at which it has transitioned from an upstart car company to the preeminent manufacturer of electric vehicles in the United States, thanks to the well-received (and well-reviewed) Model S sedan and Model X SUV. But with growth comes pains. The wait to receive a shiny new Tesla has in some ways only added to the prestige of ownership, as the lengthy pre-order lines for the upcoming Model 3 show.