Tesla to map out service, charging strategy this month

Wed Apr 3, 2013 5:15pm EDT
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By Deepa Seetharaman

DETROIT (Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA.O: Quote) will unveil details about its revamped dealer service and expanded network of fast-charging stations this month in a series of moves the 10-year-old company plans to boost its sales.

The maker of the Model S electric sedan will discuss its effort to improve on its service next week, Chief Executive Elon Musk told Reuters in an interview.

"I'm an engineer, so service is not something that I naturally do," Musk said late on Tuesday. "But it's the right thing for the company and I think we have the opportunity to re-engineer service."

Earlier this week, Tesla reported it had its first profitable quarter this past first quarter. It also announced that it was partnering with Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank to offer financing to make its pricey electric sedan accessible to more people.

The Model S, Tesla's second model after the Roadster, is Tesla's effort to reach a broader group of buyers. The car starts around $70,000 before a $7,500 tax credit.

The financing option combined with the U.S. tax credit is tackling one the main reasons that U.S. sales of electric cars have fallen short of some predictions. In addition to high prices, range anxiety and a poor charging infrastructure in the United States have also blunted their popularity.

Musk had been teasing the financing announcement for a week using the social media site Twitter. "Am going to put my money where my mouth is in v major way," he tweeted on March 25.

His online messages pushed Tesla shares up about 18 percent. But on Wednesday, shares plunged as much as 9.3 percent to $40.21 on the Nasdaq.   Continued...

Tesla Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk celebrates at his company's factory as the car company began delivering its Model S electric sedan in Fremont, California, in this June 22, 2012, file photo. REUTERS/Noah Berger/Files