Right now in Fremont, California, Tesla’s assembly line is churning out as many Model 3 sedans as it can to prepare for the car’s public debut on July 28. But once those cars hit the road, they’ll inevitably break down, and the company is pouring resources into another side of its business to keep up.
On Tuesday, Tesla announced that it would build 100 more service centers around the world (bringing the total to 250), adding 350 new mobile service vans (which aren’t electric, unfortunately), and hiring 1,400 new technicians. Overall, the company says it’s tripling its service capacity worldwide, which is an important first step in accommodating for the massive increase in Tesla drivers it expects.
The first Tesla Model 3s will have paying customers behind the wheel on July 28 (Elon Musk already has his, of course). After that, the company will be working through a massive backlog of an estimated 400,000 or more reservations for the vehicle, starting in the Western U.S. and spreading East. The car’s rollout won’t be lightning fast, which means the company should have time to install some of this promised service infrastructure before it hits peak production and starts cranking out 500,000 cars a year.
Of those improvements, the mobile technicians may be the most helpful to new owners. The company claims that 80 percent of fixes to its vehicles can be performed without an automotive lift (the heavy machinery in most mechanic’s shops to access the underside of a car), meaning that mobile technicians can sort out most issues on the road. Mobile techs were able to set up shop at charging stations in 2015 to fix a seatbelt glitch that caused an unfortunate recall, and claim to be able to respond to most calls within an hour, although that number is surely unrealistic for Tesla owners in more remote parts of the country.
For mechanics, too, it could be a chance to nab one of the 1,400 new service jobs at Tesla. According to the industry comparison website Glassdoor, service technicians at Tesla make a little over $55,000 a year on average, and the skill to work on electric vehicles will likely come in handy as the auto industry continues to move away from the internal combustion engine.