Tesla Service Loaner Fleet To Include Fully Loaded Model S, Tesla Roadster


  • 2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    2013 Tesla Model S Picture

    Tesla Motors announced a major initiative to improve the service experience for its customers. | April 26, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • Tesla Motors on Friday detailed its new service program, which includes a loaner fleet made up of fully loaded Tesla Model S Performance 85 sedans and Tesla Roadsters.
  • Tesla said it is also putting in place a valet service, in which the car is picked up and replaced with a loaner.
  • "Our service is OK, but not great, and it needs to be great," said Elon Musk, Tesla CEO.

PALO ALTO, California — Tesla Motors on Friday detailed its new service program, which includes a loaner fleet made up of fully loaded Tesla Model S Performance 85 sedans and Tesla Roadsters.

"Our service is OK, but not great, and it needs to be great," said Elon Musk, Tesla CEO, in a conference call with the media. "What's the best service and warranty that we could possibly envision? That's what we've come up with here."

He added: "I want to give people peace of mind."

Musk said the service program is critical for long-term sales.

"Service sells all the subsequent cars," he said.

Tesla will build an initial batch of about 100 Model S loaner cars. Over time, it expects to have a loaner fleet of several hundred of the vehicles or "whatever is needed," Musk said.

The number of loaners at the various service locations will depend on the number of customers and will likely vary from about two to 10 cars. When the Tesla Model X debuts, it will have the same service policy, Musk said. But he hedged on Tesla's "third-generation vehicles."

"I'm hopeful we'll be able to do that, but we may have to unbundle some things to make the cars affordable," he said.

Musk was asked about the kinds of service complaints Tesla Motors has heard about from its customers.

"It varies," he said. "It depends on which part of the country you are in. In some parts of the country we've had great service. (But) we didn't quite anticipate the right mixture of product in every market."

In Los Angeles, for example, Tesla has been operating out of one service center instead of three. Musk said that "choke point" has been eliminated and three centers will provide service in the area.

As another component of its beefed-up service initiative, Tesla said it is also putting in place a valet service, in which the car is picked up at any specified location and replaced with a loaner.

The loaner cars will also be available for "immediate purchase," Tesla said, with the aim of avoiding an "aging fleet of overused cars."

"The loaners will be available for immediate purchase at a price that is lower by 1 percent per month of age and $1 per mile," Tesla said in a statement.

The customer would pay the price differential along with the aforementioned adjustment.

"If somebody likes the service loaner more than their actual car, they can keep it," said Musk.

The annual service check-up is also optional. Even if a customer never brings in the car, the warranty is still valid, according to the company. The thinking is that electric cars don't need replacement items such as brake pads, because most of the braking energy is regeneratively captured by the motor and returned to the battery, the company noted.

Tesla also said all battery damage is covered by warranty, "including improper maintenance or unintentionally leaving the pack at a low state of charge for years on end."

Musk said the eight-year warranty wouldn't apply if you "take a blow torch to the battery pack, blow it up or use it for target practice." In other words, if the customer intentionally sets out to destroy the battery pack.

"I don't want someone worrying about whether they read the manual," Musk said. "Any product that needs a manual to work is broken."

The warranty is transferable and Tesla will replace it with a better battery if technology improves.

Musk also said a Supercharger announcement is due in a week or two.

Edmunds says: Tesla Motors spruces up its image with what it says is the "world's best service and warranty program."

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