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Fixing your Tesla about to get easier

Posted July 12

There are about to be a lot more Teslas on the road. And that means a lot more Teslas are going to end up in the shop.

So in another sign that Tesla is preparing to transition from a small, niche luxury automaker to a true mass market car company, it announced plans this week to greatly increase the number of places you can fix a Tesla.

Tesla is just about to start deliveries of its $35,000 Model 3 sedans, its first car priced for typical car buyers. So it is adding 100 service centers to its existing global network of about 150 service centers.

It's also adding 350 vans to provide mobile service for any problems that don't require a car to be on a lift, as well as 1,400 new service technicians. Altogether, the company said these additions will triple its service capacity worldwide.

Related: Why gas-powered cars aren't going away

Until now, Tesla has only sold a small volume of luxury vehicles such as the Model S and Model X, many of them for $100,000 or more. Just over 200,000 Teslas have been sold worldwide since the company debuted in 2012.

But Tesla expects to be building 5,000 Model 3's every week by later this year, and ramp up to 10,000 a week in 2018. That means there will soon be significantly more Teslas on the road.

Tesla said it can handle a big jump in repair services, since 90% of the car's issues can be identified and diagnosed remotely thanks to its connectivity.

Related: Elon Musk shows off Tesla's first Model 3

That means it can service vehicles four times faster than conventional service departments, according to Tesla, using significantly less space. The off-site services delivered by vans will also reduce the volume at repair centers.

The biggest challenge that Tesla now faces is the need to operate on a much larger scale than ever before. Tesla stock recently went into a slide after it disclosed a "severe" shortage of battery packs had caused it to come in at the low end of its second quarter delivery target, even though it said it had corrected that problem by the end of the quarter.

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