Tesla’s little army of “flying technicians” has been rising constantly and massively, as the company announced in February 2020: “Our Mobile Service fleet almost doubled in 2019 to 743 vehicles, and we continue to open new service locations globally”. Now the owners of Tesla cars are in for a nice surprise, that will make them just as happy as a win on bet365, judging by the content of an email that the company is sending to clients.
Tesla is inviting its car owners “to partake in our “NO TOUCH SERVICE” (NTS) experience. NTS includes zero contact with you and all mobile repairs will be completed without you being present. In order to partake in NTS, we ask the following to prepare for your appointment: (1) make the vehicle available before the arrival window (driveway, parking spot location, open garage, etc.); (2) We’ll let you know when onsite via text and will remotely unlock vehicle; (3) If payment is necessary, we will call you to pay over phone or through your APP; (4) We will wipe down the surfaces touched, lock up the vehicle, and message you when complete”.
Tesla has been growing so rapidly that beefing up its service network to match the sales of vehicles has proved to be a true challenge. The results for Q4 2019 were published on Jan 3rd on the company’s website: “We delivered approximately 367,500 vehicles, 50% more than the previous year and in line with our full year guidance”. This means that Tesla sold more cars in 2019 than in the previous two years combined, thanks to the popularity of the Model 3 sedan. In 2018, the company had delivered 245,240 vehicles to customers, while the figure was just over 100,000 in 2017.
On the other hand, Tesla stores and service centers were only 413, in Q3 2019, with a modest increase of 18% from the previous year. The company has chosen to focus rather on its mobile service fleet. Tesla’s technicians work door-to-door, to fix a client’s car wherever it is parked. The mobile service fleet has increased from 373 to 719 in 2018, which means a 93% leap, according to the Q3 report.
Customers’ reactions have been mixed. “Tesla Rangers” have some limitations, above all very tight time schedules. They spend a lot of time travelling to clients locations and this can be a problem if additional things to fix pop up than were initially recorded in the booking app. Another shortcoming is that they are not all equipped with the Ford Transit vans that are best fit for the task, as they can be turned into highly effective mobile service stations. Repurposed Model S coming back from lease have not been equally successful. Now Tesla is adding repurposed Model X returns to the fleet. They have falcon-wing doors and a rear hatch, making it easier to access to the spacious interior, so much larger items and tools can be stored inside.
A stronger vehicle fleet and the new mobile “no-touch” option, activated by the client through the app on his phone, should considerably improve the customer experience of Tesla owners in 2020.