Alaska customers and other long distance from service center customers

Alaska customers and other long distance from service center customers

I am posting in the Model S forum now I orginally posted in the General forum which may not have been the appropriate place. I live in Alaska and have a reservation for a Model S. If there are any other Alaskans with a reservation or who are thinking of getting one can you post here or email me directly at

I have read a few posts from other reservation holders and people hoping to get a Tesla but are a bit daunted by the cost of the Ranger porogram and the distance from service centers. Up here it will be close to 4000.00 dollars since the closest center is Seattle. I hope with enough owners I could be trained to service the Teslas up here and maybe that would be a way for others that are hundreds or thusands of miles away from a center.

I have heard that Tesla has not yet announced its program for the Model S service. I do hope this issue is taken into consideration. Anyone else have any thoughts or ideas? Thanks

BYT | April 12, 2012

Hi Joel,

Aside from the battery there isn't a whole lot to worry about from a service perspective. Maybe as indicated before, filters, coolant and software update which we are hoping most of which would be done while the car sits idle in the garage. In your case however I would definitely send a message to a Tesla Motors sales representative to get a more definitive answer and I know it's not a whole lot closer but maybe you can take advantage of service offerings from Canada as Tesla plans to be there as well?

Good Luck!

ddruz | April 12, 2012

Joel.wattum, There are several of us reservation holders in Hawaii in a similar long-distance position. I was told by my Tesla rep that Tesla eventually plans to establish a service arrangement in Hawaii, possibly through a third party. My impression was that third party service arrangements are something they are considering for far away places in general. Possibly AK is one. You could contact Tesla directly and ask them what they have in mind for AK service. It is certainly very risky to buy the car before some kind of service arrangement is in place given our very long distances away. A single Ranger visit could break the bank. I empathize with you completely.

Joel.wattum | April 13, 2012

Hey Byt thanks for your post. Unless it was Whitehorse Yukon Territories, Seattle is the closest. I guess Vancouver would save a few hundred dollars over Seattle for the Rangers. And ddruz, the post finally came up so just forget the email I sent. Yes I do hope they do have some third party people doing the service. I offered to do just that. I work on airplanes and could easily switch gears to new technology. If you are in or close to Kauai...I probably spelled that wrong, look up skydive hawaii and Dave Timko owns it. He found me because my son flew for him one winter in the Alaska off season. He was looking for a Cessna 207 for flight seeing. We went to Whitehorse Canada where one was located and after inspecting it, flying it back to Alaska, deregistering it with the Canadians and reregistering it with the FAA doing an intense annual and installing windows, interior, radios, we then disassembled it for transport to Hawaii in a container. It was reassembled and is now flying there. there is a lot more to the story but this is a Tesla forum so email me if you like or go for a site seeing ride with him and ask him about the whole adventure.

Hope we long distance owners can get something worked out so it is not like 10 plus percent plus of the vehicle value to get a ranger to our location

stephen.kamichik | April 13, 2012

Vancouver is supposed to get a service center/store later this year.

ncn | April 13, 2012

Honestly, until Tesla announces actual service arrangements in Hawaii and Alaska (as they should) I just wouldn't get a Tesla in those places.

JayK | April 13, 2012

There are already a handful of Roadsters in Hawaii. I know one of the owners and he has no problem with Tesla not having a service center in Hawaii. Supposedly a Ranger visits Hawaii and services all of the Roadsters at once. If the travel cost is split 4-5 ways, it doesn't become a big bill.

If you are in Alaska and you are the only Tesla owner, that might be a problem.

I was told, albeit over a year ago, that Tesla considers Hawaii a perfect market for their cars because the round trip around the island is about 100-110 miles (at least on Oahu). Tesla said that they would eventually open a store in Hawaii, but so far I've not heard anything.

I'm estimating there will be over a dozen or so Teslas in Hawaii this time next year. I don't know if that is enough critical mass for Tesla to open up something (a store or a service center) in Hawaii, but unless you get into an accident or need something beyond regular service, I don't think it will be a problem.

Brian H | April 13, 2012

"Flight seeing", huh? Not tea bags! Standard expression, or your own creation?

Joel.wattum | April 14, 2012

I was hoping that if there are owners or reservation holders in Alaska, we could get a rough number. I contacted Tesla and they cannot give out that information is what they told me. They said it was something with being publicly traded now? Anyway, someone has to step up to the plate and at least get a Model S visible up here. I have heard a rumor I have not confirmed that there is one Roadster in Alaska.

Here as well the Tesla would be a great commuter car because I think the last I read there are like 40,000 cars a day that make the daily commute from the valley to Anchorage for work. The round trip is around 100 miles or aa bit more depending on where in the valley you live and how much extra driving you do.

It would not be a great long distance driver but. even with the bigger battery pack you could go to Seward, Homer, placers like that. Even a trip to Denali or Talkeetna would be possible with the larger pack. I am probably going to use the 160 mile pack as that should be good enough for the majority of the driving I do.

Remember that statistic the insurance industry used to throw around. "Most accidents happen within 25 miles of the home". So, you think that might be because most of the driving is within 25 miles of the home? With that in mind I think the Tesla is the way to go for most people and their daily driving.

Again if you know of anyone in Alaska that is reserving a Tesla or, has a reservation or, is thinking about it, please reply to this post or start a new one.

BYT | April 14, 2012

Based on the Model S and X map reservations that are entered voluntarily, I don't see any in Alaska yet but a good number in Canada:

Joel.wattum | April 14, 2012

I did not know of that site so I added mine there. Hope a few others do as well. Thanks for the information. Hey ncn, do you have a reservation and what is your location?

I sort of think those of us getting a Tesla are sort of like the initial Apple Mac buyers in the early 80's. We bought the first Macintosh and everytime we wanted to use a new program that came out we had to upgrade the machine. Finally in frustration we went away from Mac since it got cost prohibitive. We are back with Macs but they got more user friendly and you did not have to upgrade every 6 months.

While we are the early supporters of this new revolutionary technology and concept, I would like to think that it is not going to cost me in the process to help make it evolve into something for the masses. Like ncn said it may well be that without a plan for us long distance reservation holders, it may not be the best decision to get one just yet.

I think once there are a large number of EV's out there, no matter the manufacturer, charging stations and service will be more readily available. Just have to bite the bullet and get the ball rolling. I just hope I don't end up having something go wrong that will require a Ranger visit that we cannot afford. We really are stepping out of our comfort range getting a Tesla in the financial end of it. I am sure the price will come down eventually or another more affordable for the masses model will come out. When that happens there will be more service centers.

Brian H | April 15, 2012

Joel, there's only one solution for you. You're going to have to hit the streets and sell Model Ses. Create your own pool of co-owners! Maybe talk to a rental place or two to get them to establish small fleets, like the Europeans and Icelanders. The Model X should be an easy sale to them!


mvbf | April 15, 2012

Or how about you provide a weekend of recreation, food, and board for the ranger and family? Maybe vacation hosting is the creative solution to difficult to reach Tesla owners. I imagine that is part of the reason the Hawaiian Tesla owners do ok.

Joel.wattum | April 15, 2012

Brian, a good idea and yes talking up the Tesla is going to at least spark interest. I think some are not skeptical but would rather see how it does up here. You know just put your big toe in the water instead of jumping in. In essence I would be the guinea pig. I am hoping I can do my own 12,000 mile or one year, whichever comes first, service. 3.00 a mile is not cost effective even at todays gas prices. It would probably be more because I do not think I would put 12000 miles on the first year.

mvbf, I guess that might be good for the Ranger and his family but, how would that get the 1.00 a mile cost down?

mvbf | April 15, 2012

The ranger pays for their own travel because they would have to anyway to go on vacation. I don't know. I am just trying to think out of the box. Probably Brian's suggestion is a lot more practical.

Joel.wattum | April 15, 2012

Hey mvbf, ok that makes more sense. Yes we live in a beautiful area very close to Denali and also have float plane flying opportunities in the summer and many winter sports, including the Iditarod restart in March. That could possibly be a partial solution if nothing else can be worked out.

Brian H | April 16, 2012

I don't think the charges relate just to the Ranger's personal expenses. It's a TM fee as they "pay the freight" for transporting him and his gear.

Go to a rental place and get them on board for a couple of dozen cars! That'll dilute your costs better.

mvbf | April 16, 2012

(I hope this is not a double post, had trouble posting the first time)

IMO Tesla should bend over backwards to accommodate those further afield willing to stretch financially beyond their comfort zone. People like Joel break trail for the many others less determined. Tesla has an opportunity here. If they can accommodate people like Joel reasonably and then maybe make their stories known to future buyers in a similar position, Tesla will have many more customers and hence profit.

Right now there are plenty of customers for the pace of production. However, as Tesla ramps up their production, they will need every potential customer who might have thought they were "too far" away from a service area.

Good luck Joel and I hope you find a solution.

mvbf | April 16, 2012

BTW, it sounds like a blast out there Joel. If I were Tesla ranger, I would be tempted to service your car pro bono. After all isn't all about making more people smile.

Brian H | April 16, 2012

As I noted above, I don't think this is a personal expense/billing issue for the Ranger(s). TM is footing the bill and applying the charges. I doubt individual Rangers have discretion in this. It would be higher up the ladder.

Joel.wattum | April 16, 2012


I think what mvbf sounds well, sound. There will be a lot more potential buyers after the first wave and as production ramps up. I can see that if servicing is cost prohibitive after such a large outlay, then outlying potential buyers may be more hesitant or, not buy at all.

Your idea to have rental centers buy them is good but the local level is not the way to proceed and is probably something that someone up the ladder both at Tesla and the fleet buyer at a rental place would have to explore.

I am glad there are people coming up with ideas though. One I had was to actually be trained by Tesla to at least do the once a year servicing. That would work for me and possibly for any other buyers up here. Currently if I am the only Tesla owner the current program is really a bit cost prohibitive when compared to an ICE vehicle or a current hybrid that are up here and do have service centers.

I think Tesla is soon going to announce what they do intend to do about service and for far away customers. At least that is what I got out of an email I sent to them. Hopefully if they have a plan that works more will order a Tesla.

I do know that with shipping for car dealers it is the same price whether you have a dealership across the street or across the country or in Hawaii or Alaska. At least that is how it used to be the last time I bought a vehicle in Kodiak, Alaska. Same shipping as to Seattle, Anchorage or Kodiak. Maybe a service program along those lines?

I once heard that there are many paths to the top of the mountain, just trying to pick the best one.

Cheers everyone

mvbf | April 16, 2012

This thread inspired me to think how much service could be done remotely. So I asked over at tesla motor club forum. The first response looks promising:
I also sort of asked the question here:
but am yet to get a response.
I hope that helps.

Joel.wattum | April 17, 2012

Hey mvpf, that does look better. If I can do the mechanical needs myself and Tesla can remotely take care of other issues I think it will be relatively worry free. There may be the rare anomoly that occurs where they insist that a Ranger has to handle the issue. Realistically though, if it is just replacing something that goes bad I am sure there can be instruction given. I should probably try to contact someone in service to see what special skill sets are needed to service the vehicles.

Brian H | April 17, 2012

I imagine the sticking point will be the warranty. If you're fixing stuff yourself, that normally voids it.

jerry3 | April 17, 2012

Not in the U.S. it doesn't--unless they can prove that you messed it up. The burden of proof is on them, not on you.

Joel.wattum | April 17, 2012

If it got to be difficult or technical I would for sure call the service department. It really cannot be all that difficult for most issues that are normal.

Don Jacobs | August 27, 2013

I just got off the phone with Tesla and they have assured me that we will have a Tesla dealer in Anchorage, Alaska within the next couple months.
I ordered a Model S this morning. Can't wait to get it.

Brian H | August 28, 2013

I wonder if the Norway experience is inspiring TM in Alaska. "The Winter Wonder Car"!

anna Muhovich | May 15, 2014

any further information about the opening of a Tesla service or super charger in Alaska? I can't find anything about it's expected opening although the site directs me to a map location in Anchorage.
Anna Muhovich

sbeggs | October 16, 2014

Back in June, 2013, in Ketchikan, AK, we saw our first Model S in person. Dolphin grey, gorgeous. We circled around it like sharks. Shot photos, not realizing that, less than one year later, a Model S85 would find a home in our garage.

info | October 16, 2014

If anyone here wants to buy the winning lotto number, please contact me.

Captain_Zap | October 16, 2014

June in Ketchikan... King and Silver season!

sbeggs | October 16, 2014

Our first and only cruise. Prefer to head out in the T under our own power. But Alaska (and its fish, and its ale) is wonderful.

Red Sage ca us | October 17, 2014

I stalked around the white Model S P85D that was on display in much the same way last week...