Tesla has announced that it will be adding 350 new service vans, 100 new service centers and 1,400 service technicians to its lineup, undoubtedly as a preemptive strike against future service hiccups with the arrival of the Model 3, which officially launches later this month.
The Model 3 is the most affordable Tesla yet. This is a Tesla for the masses, and the number of reservations for it are estimated to be nearing half a million — more than twice the total number of all other Tesla models on the road today. It would appear to be a boon for the automaker, for consumers who wanted a Tesla but couldn't afford the Model S or Model X, and for the movement to mainstream electric cars.
For new Tesla consumers, this means embracing patience and a new way of doing things. For Tesla, it means proactively addressing issues of service and repair in a world that will soon hold up to triple the number of cars it previously had on the road.
The automaker has seen a few hiccups in its delivery of service and repairs before — one need look no further than the Tesla Forum to discover its owners are impassioned purveyors of all of their opinions, with service issues being no exception. Evidently, the wait times to get your car repaired can be interminable thanks to sparse service help and sometimes scarce parts.
But this strengthened battalion of support — bolstering a reported 130 vans already on the road as well as 68 U.S. service centers — means that, thanks to the connected car model (yes, they're watching you), a vast majority of Tesla problems can be diagnosed before the service van gets to you or you get to the service center.
In theory, increased service availability plus diagnosis at your fingertips equals happy consumers who will only fan the flames of rabid enthusiasm for the marque. In practice, there's no telling yet if Tesla will have the parts available to make the fix and keep the masses accelerating along in their sustainable transport.
Tesla is at a tipping point. It has enjoyed a rabidly dedicated following and an ever-ascending stock price. It is perched on the precarious precipice of mainstreaming its attractive electric cars, and one hopes that both consumers and the automaker are aware of what such a position requires.
The transition from cool-with-cachet to cool-for-copious-consumers requires delicacy. This is a ride we'll be watching and we can only hope it succeeds, for the mainstream is a great place for Tesla to be.