There are some perks to Tesla ownership that customers believe are vital to the experience of owning one of the premium electric vehicles.
One of those perks is free access to the company’s network of superchargers. Another is quick and responsive maintenance and repairs.
Both of those perks seem to be fading away as Tesla grows. Customers are beginning to complain of long wait times for service and, at the same time, Tesla has announced that unlimited free charging access will soon be a thing of the past.
Is the novelty of Tesla ownership wearing off?
Automotive News did a story featuring Tesla owners who are complaining of not being able to get their cars in for service in a timely manner, or needing to drive hundreds of miles to the nearest service center.
The article gave an example of a customer who had to wait five weeks to have a cracked windshield fixed, and another who had to wait nearly two weeks to have a window fixed that wouldn’t close properly. It’s a problem that’s only set to worsen once the massive fleet of Model 3 sedans are delivered to customers.
The problem is compounded by Tesla’s insistence that independent repair shops not be allowed to work on its cars. Hopefully that either changes or Tesla opens enough service centers to accommodate the 500,000 cars the company hopes to build annually come 2018.
The automaker also plans to charge for access to its supercharger network. In a blog post, the company announced that people who buy a new Tesla after December will receive limited free charging instead of unlimited access. The post said,
For Teslas ordered after January 1, 2017, 400 kWh of free Supercharging credits (roughly 1,000 miles) will be included annually so that all owners can continue to enjoy free Supercharging during travel. Beyond that, there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car.
The program is meant to encourage people to charge at home when possible and use the Supercharger network only for road trips.
Finally, the American automaker will purchase a German engineering firm that designs factory machines that build cars. The purchase is Tesla’s first step toward building cars in Europe and will ultimately help the company deliver on its 2018 production goals.
As Tesla grows, and the ownership perks seem to diminish, are you less likely to buy one of its cars?