Musk, the chief executive of Tesla and SpaceX, “makes cars, he makes rockets, so there’s a fighting chance they could get that up,” Maly said. “But then the challenge is, where do you get the dry vans?”
With the U.S. economy humming, new dry vans also are in high demand.
“If you ordered one today, you might get it in April,” Maly said.
Logistics isn’t the only challenge Tesla is attempting to solve by taking matters into its own hands. Facing a shortage of body parts to repair Teslas involved in car crashes---some owners have waited months to get their cars back from such fixes---the company this year began opening its own “light collision repair” body shops. So far, there are nine.
On Sept. 16, Musk tweeted that Tesla “is bringing most collision repairs in-house” because delays at third-party body shops are “driving Tesla owners (and us) crazy.”
He followed with a burst of tweets. “Having all parts in stock & not waiting for insurance approval” would make “a world of difference,” one said. In another he said he’d reduce body work turnaround time to “under an hour.”
Asked about the speed claims, Giovanna Tanzillo, co-owner of Uptown Body & Fender in Oakland, CA, said: “I do not know how that is possible. I’d be interested in knowing more myself.”
A basic bumper replacement takes at least 24 hours, she said; “You can’t rush it” without sacrificing quality. A new door could be hung in an hour, but the vast majority of jobs would take far longer, Tanzillo said.
Having Tesla parts in-house could speed the process, she said. It also helps that Teslas come in only a few colors. A body panel could be painted in an hour, Tanzillo said, but most cars get faded by the sun, which means a paint job requires blending and matching. A high-quality job would take hours.
Uptown used to work on Tesla cars, “but we do work on them now only when parts are not necessary,” Tanzillo said. “We can’t get parts. When we can, they won’t ship them to us. They have us pick them up. They want to control everything. There are plenty of other models out there.”
Tesla declined to comment about Musk’s claims or body shop expansion plans.