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Tesla Expanding Service Centers and Operations

Electric car maker Tesla is expanding its service operations and hiring more than 1,000 technicians to meet expected demand for its new Model 3 sedan.

The Model 3, cheaper than Tesla’s existing cars, goes on sale this month and is expected to attract hundreds of thousands of new customers to the brand.

To accommodate them, the company is adding 100 new service centers worldwide over the next year, bringing its total number of service centers to 250. The new service centers will be in areas that have the most reservation-holders for the Model 3.

Tesla also is adding 350 vans to its mobile service fleet, mostly in the U.S. The vans go to owners’ homes or offices and repair their cars while they wait, typically for about one hour. The vans are equipped with tools and replacement parts as well as an espresso machine, snacks and kids’ toys.

Until now, Tesla had around 30 mobile repair vans, which were used mostly in cases where the owner lived too far from a service center. About six months ago, the company began deploying the vans in the San Francisco area in order to ease the burden on its service centers and see if they could help meet anticipated demand for the Model 3. Customers were happy with the new arrangement, so the company decided to roll out mobile service in more locations.

At a starting price of $35,000, the Model 3 is about half the cost of Tesla’s two other models. Tesla hasn’t said how many people hold refundable, $1,000 reservations for the car. It has said it expects to make 500,000 vehicles in 2018, up from 84,000 last year.

Like its stores, which are owned by the company and not by franchised dealers, Tesla has upended the auto industry with its service model. Tesla CEO Elon Musk…

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