2017 Tesla Model S
Soon, if your Tesla breaks down, you may not even have to call a tow truck. Your car will do it for you.
That was one of the goals Tesla CEO Elon Musk laid out for 2019 in a conference call with investors last week as part of a larger push to streamline the company's service processes.
Musk didn't confirm how the service will work, but said he imagined that that if the car detected a fault, it would automatically notify Tesla, and the company would automatically send a flat-bed with a service loaner—and an ambulance if need be—to the location, drop off the loaner, and pick up the faulty or damaged Tesla and take it to the nearest service location to minimize any inconvenience to the driver.
He said that drivers would have the option to cancel the service call if they want, but if they didn't cancel, a tow truck would arrive automatically.
Such notifications are easier for Tesla than for other automakers, because all the company's cars (other than the original Roadster) have a data stream back to the company, and because the company owns its own service centers.
Musk said on Wednesday that improving service efficiency is one of the company's major priorities for 2019.
The Tesla owners we hear from have few complaints. Among those that the company apparently hears regularly, though, is about delays at its service centers, often while cars wait days for parts.
Musk announced a new focus to speed up service by moving repair parts into service centers, rather than storing them in regional warehouses and shipping them to service centers. This should especially help with cars that need minor bodywork.
The CEO said that at least some Tesla service centers will start doing bodywork, and that they will stock front and rear plastic fascias for the cars in all the standard colors.
"We've been just like super dumb in some of the things we've done," Musk admitted, in speaking about moving repair parts to the service centers. He told investors that "stopping doing the foolish things will massively improve our service costs, will massively improve customer happiness around the world, and it's just fundamentally better,"