On the road trip from North Carolina to Cocoa Beach, to see the SpaceX launch, when we stopped to charge in St Augustine, FL, and I tried to charge, it would say it was starting to charge and then kept failing. I tried 2 different chargers and it still wouldn’t work.
I was starting to get nervous that I was going to get stuck there, which would have been awful because this supercharger location was probably one of the worst locations yet. The St Augustine, FL supercharger is at an old outlet mall with very few food options and absolutely no place to get coffee.
I called Tesla service and they recommended I try all the chargers. Fortunately, the third charger I tried did work. Once it started working, I called the Tesla supercharger phone number and reported the issue to them too so they could fix it.
The next day while I was at Cocoa Beach, I got a phone call from the Raleigh Tesla service center letting me know that the engineers pulled logs on my car and the superchargers and found that the issue I experienced was actually a problem with a voltage sensor in my car, not the supercharger. She said fixing it would require replacing my entire charging unit, but it would be covered under warranty. She asked about where I was and my travel plans to see if it’d be possible to find a service center on the way to my next destination.
Palm Beach, FL was the closest service center on the way so she got up with them. They didn’t have the part I needed to be replaced in stock, but Raleigh had the part so she said they could overnight it to Palm Beach. I thought that was pretty amazing. Apparently, the repair would only take a few hours and they’d give us a rental to use while in Palm Beach.
So we got up bright and early and headed the 100 some miles to Palm Beach. We got there around 8:30 am, just 30 minutes after they opened because I had talked with the Palm Beach service manager the day before and we said it’d be best if I got there as early as possible. When I talked to service manager once we arrived and tried to get an estimate on what time the car would be done, he was a bit evasive and said something like “We’ll do our best to get it done today.” And he said something about a software update being required after This kind of freaked me out because we had no expectation of staying in Palm Beach and it was a Friday so if it wasn’t done today, we’d be stuck there until Monday, delaying our arrival in the keys by two to three days.
I figured he was probably just being overly cautious and didn’t want to set the wrong expectation, but I was already a bit disturbed because no one up until that point had said anything about the possibility of it not getting done within the day. I waited until about 12:30, at which point I could see on the Tesla app that the car hadn’t even been moved into the service bay. Considering we had gotten up extra early to get there at 9:30, I was a little perturbed by that so I called and the service manager who said they already had some cars in the bay in the morning so they had to finish those first.
At this point, I was starting to freak out a bit more about the possibility of getting stuck in Palm Beach. Honestly, Palm Beach looked pretty nice, its a nice area, but there was actually an advisory to not even get into the ocean because of some bacteria run off or something. So I remembered back when I had body repair work done on my car last year and I tweeted at Elon Musk about the shop taking a month to do an estimate, a Tesla project manager had emailed and called me to get everything straightened out. I figured it was a long shot, maybe that PM wasn’t there anymore or not available but I emailed him just to explain the situation and that I was a little bothered the possibility of having to unexpectedly stay in Palm Beach for the weekend. I figured that it’d be better to email him now instead of waiting until the service center didn’t have the car done that day and I was unhappy with not really any way to resolve it.
Within an hour he emailed me back to say he was looking into the issue. And soon after I got a call directly from the service foreman in Palm Beach letting me know there were working on my car and it would definitely be done today. About an hour later I saw that the car was starting to charge and a software update was available.
Fortunately, the supercharger in Palm Beach is right at the service center so they had plugged the car in to get fully charged for me. About 20 minutes before the charging was done, the service foreman called me back and said the car was almost done charging and I could pick it up anytime.
We got there and it was pouring down rain, but fortunately, they had a tent we could pull the rental car in and migrate all our stuff back to the car.
All in all, it wasn’t a 100% smooth experience, mostly it seems due to bad communication on the Palm Beach service manager’s part causing unneeded anxiety, but I’m 100% happy with the end result. Detecting the issue remotely, overnighting a part to Florida, getting a service appointment the next day, providing a rental car, and getting the repair done within the day is a pretty premium experience.
Moving forward, I’m wondering if Tesla can keep up this experience with the Model 3. They’re really going to have to beef up their service center infrastructure to keep up with the potential demand.