One of the major benefits of electric cars is that, with much simpler powertrains than their combustion-powered predecessors, EVs should require a lot less maintenance. This means fewer inconvenient trips to service centers for owners, but that still doesn’t mean they’re exactly maintenance-free. You’ll still need some service for things like tires, air filters and brakes, as well as recall fixes and unexpected problems.
Electric automaker Tesla aims to soften the maintenance blow by bringing the service center to the customer with its Tesla Mobile Service program. The automaker has transformed a small fleet of vehicles into rolling workshops driven by certified technicians, who drive out to Teslas wherever they happen to be to perform fixes ranging from simple and routine maintenance to complex airbag recalls. In fact, Tesla tells us that about 31% of its Takata airbag recalls have been completed by Mobile Service technicians in the field with an average replacement time of about 30 minutes.
Not content to just take Tesla’s word for it, I accepted an invitation to ride along with in a Tesla Mobile Service vehicle for the day to see how the service works in the wild. My office for the day was one of Tesla’s newest service vehicles, athat’s had its rear seats replaced with a tool shelving system — accessible via the power hatchback — and safety cage. These are older, pre-facelift vehicles that have been given a second life helping keep their younger siblings on the road and operating safely.
As someone who maintains my own vehicle, it was impressive to watch Tesla’s technicians work so quickly and efficiently and to marvel at the equally efficient organization of tools and parts in the Mobile Service vehicle’s hatch. On my ride-along, I witnessed fixes ranging from agetting a simple tire rotation at a private residence to an airbag and power steering recall service on a Tesla Model S in the parking lot of a motel. You can see it all for yourself in the video above.