A Need for Electric Vans
Tesla's Mobile Service has been available to everyone in the U.S. and Canada since 2010, providing Tesla owners with inspections and firmware updates at people's homes or offices. The service was expanded in May to offer repairs, complete with new vans and more on-board equipment.
Now the company is improving the service even more by designing new all-electric vehicles, albeit ones based on their increasingly popular Model S and Model X. As reported by Electrek, the new vehicles will replace the vans as early as next year, which are expected to improve the service's range and cut down on emissions — vans currently in use are actually using combustion engines.
“We didn’t think that it was very cool to show up to fix an electric vehicle with a combustion engine van. It really bugged us," said Jon McNeill, Tesla’s President of Global Sales and Services. "Some really savvy technicians on our team figured out how to retrofit Model X to fit all the tooling and parts needed to do service.”
McNeill went on to explain how their technicians managed to retrofit the Model S as well. Before the changes can be fully utilized, however, they need to be approved by road authorities. Regardless, Tesla president expects to receive approval sometime next year.
Tesla's Service Plans
The van's redesign lines up with Tesla's new service strategy. In July, the company said it would be adding 350 new mobile units, as well as 100 new service centers and 1,400 new vehicle technicians. The move will increase its service capacity, make their service centers 4 times faster, and make the act of getting repairs more convenient for Tesla owners.
When the new vans begin to hit the road, they'll join the Model S, Model X, Model 3, and Tesla Semi in representing the company's growing fleet of electric vehicles. Despite challenges caused by the seemingly slow production of the much-anticipated Model 3 and the delay of the company's Semi, the company is still expected to have nearly 3 millions vehicles on the road by 2023 — 531,000 are expected by the end of 2018.
Interestingly enough, Inverse notes this isn't the first time a Tesla vehicle has been changed into a different vehicle. Last year, limo maker Big Limos took a Model S and transformed it into a stretch limo. It took a bit of work to accomplish, but it'll be interesting to see if Tesla ever decides to branch out to other luxury vehicles following the success of this particular project.