When Tesla owners drop off their electric cars at any of the company’s service centers, chances are they’ll end up using one of the company’s available loaner vehicles. However, not all of these vehicles are capable of running Autopilot. This setup will be changing soon, according to the Silicon Valley-based company’s CEO.
Elon Musk announced yesterday that loaner cars capable of running Autopilot would be available for customer use. The decision came following an inquiry from the Tesla Owners Silicon Valley Twitter account, who received a loaner after dropping his vehicle off for service.
Musk also said that vehicles not capable of running Autopilot will be removed from the company’s loaner fleet. Considering Musk’s statement, it appears that Tesla will soon keep its loaner fleet exclusive to vehicles that are at least capable of running Autopilot 1.0, the first iteration of the company’s driver-assist system that was introduced in 2014 with the debut of the Model S P85D.
The availability of Autopilot-capable loaner vehicles will likely not be a problem in the near future as well, especially since Tesla is producing larger volumes of electric cars today thanks to the Model 3. Once Model 3 loaners are rolled out en masse to the company’s service centers, Tesla drivers will likely find themselves with a pretty familiar vehicle at times when they had to turn their cars in for service.
The company opened at least 30 additional Tesla Service Centers in August, including several that opened outside of the United States.
Musk has given Tesla owners who are utilizing loaner cars interesting additions in the past. During the company’s 2017 Q1 earnings call, he announced that he hoped to improve the loaner program by offering Model S P100Ds that were capable of running Ludicrous Mode to customers. “It will be the kind of thing where you hope service takes a long time because you have the absolute top-of-the-line as a service loaner,” Musk said.
With the recently announced Plaid Mode that is set to be equipped on the Model S and Model X starting late 2020, it seems pertinent to note that drivers will have access to even faster loaners in the near future. However, the addition of Autopilot to loaner vehicles now could help the company’s sales of the software, as some drivers may enjoy it so much that they add it onto their current vehicles.