Expect Tesla to Buy Storage Locker Chains or FranchisesApril 3rd, 2019
I don’t work for Tesla. I have had no point of contact with anybody from Tesla other than two support emails inquiring about how often you should undercoat your car (never) and whether AP/FSD can be transferred to the purchase of a new Tesla (no they don’t).
From time to time, I think about the technologies Tesla is working on and where they could go with them.
For example, recently and briefly Tesla closed all stores. I believe this was because from a developer mentality, reducing friction, reducing cost and speeding up processes are inherent goals.
When Tesla makes these decisions, it makes sense to me at a Developer level. By removing the costs associated with humans delivering and automating that system, you can focus on speeding up the process.
I already blogged about the ideal (human-minified) process would look like between the time Tesla closed stores and decided not to close anymore in an article called Physical Location Reduction. But now I am thinking, Tesla needs some hubs. It is well documented that they are using huge parking lots as these hubs to facilitate delivery. And as they enter into new areas, it makes sense they will need more of these parking lots to load/unload.
With Tesla beginning on the manufacturing of the FSD computers today and also Tesla Semi starting to help out with transport of Tesla deliveries, I think the FSD Tesla Semi combo merits re-examination.
When Tesla needed help transporting cars, Tesla buys a trucking company. And as I mentioned before, Tesla is entering new territories in bulk and their need for places to put cars until owners can get them is increasing.
So what better thing for Tesla to buy than storage lockers? Or even build new storage facilities. These facilities can have cars unloaded, parked and plugged into a charger. The garage doors will keep out intruders and vandals. The doors of the garage can be opened by some sort of secure system which validates a new owner and they can go there and pick up their 90% charged brand new, recently detailed Tesla.
The cost of a salaried employee would be over 10x higher than the cost of a storage unit. If some storage units were agreeable to retrofit 10′ x 20′ garages some some entry mechanisms, Tesla could secure many parking spots all over the world to store their cars for their owners. They would no longer be tied down to major cities with Service Centres. They could focus on transporting the cars as close to their owners as possible.
I drove 2.5 hours to a Service Centre to pick up my Tesla. My delivery appointment got bumped twice. Although my Delivery Specialist Toni was amazing, if given the option to pick up my car locally, I would have definitely accepted.
I believe Tesla will be looking at ways they can produce Semi trucks to deliver more vehicles. With the lower cost benefit from the Semi’s the delivery costs should plummet quite a bit over traditional vehicle delivery.
Lockers will store cars for some variable amount of time that will average out. At first, Tesla will be able to pull this off with a simple electrical outlet to charge the vehicle. They will likely look for storage lockers around useful locations such as Super Chargers or Detailers. They will deliver cars to these lockers and maintain the inventory. This inventory management system can be integrated with their online purchasing process. Upon purchase, the vehicle which matches configuration in the locker closest to the purchaser can be presented as an option for pickup.
Assuming, agreements, banking and insurance all gets sorted out, the new owner can arrive at their pickup location and take delivery themselves.
When cars are put into the locker and taken out, they will be timestamped. This will give Tesla great optimization data to focus on reducing lockers where turnover is low and increase lockers where turnover is high.
Ideally these lockers have one of every config nearby and are replenished within a day of depletion. The goal would be to turnover 15 cars/month.
Even if some cars are stored for a couple months, it would not be crazy expensive for Tesla, especially with their bulk-buy long term usage negotiation power.
jsturgis April 3rd, 2019ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
I am TSLA long. I do not fear uncertainties and doubt. Numbers matter.