Closest Tesla servicing 360km away in Christchurch for Mosgiel woman

A Mosgiel woman was shocked when she was told she was facing a 360km road trip each way to repair her Tesla.

Jenny Kerr, of Mosgiel, said the problem started in early July when she noticed an odd noise in the car whenever she turned the steering wheel.

She bought the Model 3 Tesla in September 2019 and did not expect to have much trouble getting it repaired.

But when she called Tesla she was told she would have to drive her car to the nearest service centre, in Christchurch, to be inspected.

She was not comfortable driving a faulty car that far.

”I don’t pay $98,000 for a car for you guys to tell me that I’ve got to take it to Christchurch.”

Ms Kerr said she thought a solution had been found when Tesla flew a technician to Dunedin to repair her car.

When she went to pick up her car, the technician had left for the airport, and the issue had not been fixed.

Now she was back to facing either a Christchurch road trip or a wait until the end of August for another technician to visit Dunedin.

She thought Tesla should arrange for her car to be taken to Christchurch on a transporter and provide her with a rental vehicle in the meantime. They had not agreed.

Otago Polytechnic automotive senior lecturer Kevin O’Neill said the problem of premium cars brands being repaired out of town was not new.

”We used to have problems with Ferrari or Lamborghini … what they wanted is their customers to put them in a container on a truck and get them sent up to Auckland to the authorised service dealer.”

However, the issue was not a wider issue for electric vehicles being serviced locally.

Otago Polytechnic had offered training in electric vehicle repair for three years, and demand was growing.

There was plenty of capacity for the current local electric fleet to be serviced within the city, and capacity had been growing in line with the growing fleet.

Tesla did not respond to a request for comment for this story.

Since the start of 2020 there have been 39 new registrations of Teslas in Otago and Southland, out of 1325 nationally.

Twelve of the local Tesla registrations were in Dunedin, 11 in Queenstown and 10 in Wanaka.

Two went to Arrowtown, with one in each of Invercargill, Mosgiel, Oamaru and Riverton.

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