Tesla doubled the size of its fleet over the last 12 months and it’s putting a lot of pressure on its service capacity.
The automaker revealed the number one reason owners visit service and it’s a surprising one: to learn how to use Autopilot.
In the release of its Q2 2019 financial results, Tesla focused a lot on service.
The company has been growing its fleet so fast that it’s difficult to grow its service capacity at the same rate.
Tesla noted in the shareholder’s letter:
“As our fleet continues to grow, our service and Supercharger capacity continues to expand. In Q2, we added 101 vehicles to our Mobile Service fleet and opened 25 new store and service locations. While our customer fleet size has doubled in the past 12 months, our service losses remained stable year-on-year and service wait times have improved considerably.”
In the conference call that followed the release of the earnings and the letter, CEO Elon Musk emphasized that “the best service is no service” and that Tesla is focused on increasing reliability and eliminating all the reasons Tesla owners go to get service.
Jerome Guillen, Tesla President of Automotive, commented:
“Yes, as you pointed out the best service is no service. So we’re trying to continue improving the quality of the cars andnd track this daily. Fewer and fewer service visits are required from the most recent cars that we’re building. So we’re on a good trend there. We also need a lot fewer work to finish the cars in the factory. Besides that, we are making more parts for service centers and we ship everything same day, pretty much so that people don’t have to wait for parts, and we accelerate service, and we increase capacity. There’s a lot of improvements that we’ve already implemented and many more on the way. So I am relatively optimistic and I’m happy to help with the service team.”
The executive also noted that some customer education could help reduce the service workload since he claims that the number one reason customers visit service centers is to learn how to use Autopilot, Tesla’s suite of automated driver-assist features.
This is somewhat surprising but at the same time, not so much since Tesla has basically eliminated orientation at delivery and reduced the number of test drives it gives as part of its sale process, which is mostly online.
That’s especially true during delivery rushes at the end of the quarter when Tesla delivers most of its cars.
I witnessed a few Tesla deliveries during the last delivery rush and Tesla barely says anything about Autopilot.
However, they do encourage you to visit Tesla’s Autopilot support page, which includes several short videos explaining how to use the feature.
I think you learn virtually everything you need about Autopilot, or at least to feel confident enough to start familiarizing yourself with the feature, on this page.
But there are still plenty of people misusing the feature, as evidenced by many videos online, so it’s not entirely surprising that people have many questions about it.
I’d argue that a short course online, or maybe an interactive course directly on the in-car screen, should be mandatory to enable the feature – though I’m sure I’ll get a lot of pushback on that idea.
What do you think? Let us know in the comment section below.
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