By Mike Davey
Palo Alto, California -- May 18, 2017 -- Tesla has publicly committed to expanding and improving its bodyshop network in North America and now the company has released two new documents that provide some hints about how that will roll out.
The Tesla Body Repair Program Operating Standards and Tooling Master List spell out the requirements for shops to become Tesla certified. Intriguingly, Tesla indicates that there will be at least two distinct levels of certification, with different levels of training required.
Tesla has had significant issues with getting vehicles repaired in a timely manner, according to a number of media reports. The company also plans to start manufacturing its first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3, in July of this year. Sales of the Model 3 are expected to be robust, and it seems likely that the current network would be insufficient to handle the volume of repairs.
A Primary Structural Location must have two fully-trained technicians with welding certifications who have been trained on Model S and X structural repair, as well as having taken the Tesla course on mechanical, electrical and trim. The training requirements to qualify as a Satellite Cosmetic Repair locations appear to be much simpler, only requiring that all technicians working on Tesla vehicles have completed a one hour online electric vehicle safety course.
The different levels of certification are reflected in the minimum equipment costs. A shop that wants to qualify as a Primary Structural Location will need to invest a bare minimum of $6,145 USD, as opposed to $1,225 for a Satellite Location. Note that is just the equipment you will have to purchase from Tesla. The figures given assume that you’ve already got everything else you’ll need. The final cost will almost certainly be much higher, even if you already have much of the specified equipment. For example, there are only four approved benches. Assuming you already have one of those four, you will still need to purchase fixtures. Depending on the bench, the fixtures alone range from $5,936 USD up to $27,878 USD. You can look at the complete list of required equipment options here.
The new standards have been released in the wake of Tesla’s announcement that it plans to add 300 shops to the network, while removing underperforming shops and opening its own corporately owned shops. Collision Repair magazine reached out to Tesla for comments on whether or not any of the new shops will be in Canada, but a reply had not been received by time of publication.