Tesla recently shared a rare glimpse at the operations of its Model S mobile service units, which are deployed in the field to address the repair and maintenance needs of the company’s electric cars. In the video, which featured CNET Roadshow reviewer Antuan Goodwin, it was even hinted that Tesla is looking to expand its mobile service vehicles to Tesla’s other cars, such as the Model X.
Tesla currently utilizes older, modified Model S vehicles as part of its service fleet. These cars are specifically outfitted with the necessary tools that allow technicians to perform jobs such as simple tire rotations to more complex tasks such as refitting a steering rack. The Model S repair units are also fitted with a custom safety cage, which protects technicians by preventing the large tool racks at the rear of the vehicles from moving forward.
Apart from giving its older electric cars a second life, Tesla noted that the Model S was selected as a mobile service unit due to its spacious cargo area. With the vehicle’s rear seats down, the Model S has 58.1 cubic feet of cargo space. This, as well as the vehicle’s 5.3 cubic feet of space in the frunk, allow mobile service technicians to carry a decent amount of tools and spare parts for its everyday operations.
According to the Roadshow reviewer, Tesla is planning on outfitting a couple of Model X with similar modifications, allowing the all-electric SUV to be used as a mobile service unit alongside its sedan sibling. The upcoming Model X service vehicles will reportedly be deployed for bigger repair and maintenance jobs.
Such a strategy would play to the strengths of the Model X very well. The vehicle is quite large for its segment, and just like the Model S, it has tons of cargo space. With its third and second-row seats removed, Tesla would be able to load its Model X service units with enough tools and parts for repair jobs that are too complex for its Model S repair fleet. With this system in place, Tesla could also take one step closer to retiring its gas-powered fleet of service vans, which are still in use today.
While the mention of a Model X mobile service vehicle is compelling, it should also be noted that the publication’s footage also showcased the efficiency of Tesla’s onsite technicians. Over the course of the video, Tesla’s Model S mobile service performed multiple tasks, from rotating a Model 3’s tires in a residential area to performing an airbag and power steering recall service at a parking lot.
Tesla notes that about 31% of its Takata airbag recalls have been conducted by mobile service technicians, with an average replacement time of around 30 minutes. As per Elon Musk, these numbers would only get better over time, as Tesla is working on improving its service operations. During a previous earnings call, Musk pledged to double the company’s service capacity in 2019. The CEO also noted that mobile service technicians currently address about 80% of repairs needed for Tesla’s electric cars. This figure would likely increase with the addition of Model X mobile service vehicles.
Watch a day in the life of a Tesla mobile service technician in the video below.