This Former Tesla Employee Fixes Tesla Roadsters

This Former Tesla Employee Fixes Tesla Roadsters

Everything to do with driving a
Tesla Roadster is right here. There are very few people left at
Tesla that can even rebuild one of these. This is the entire motor
and transmission out of a Roadster. One of the things that’s so great about
a Tesla is the fact that they’re no simple. There’s only four or five
moving parts in that transmission to fail, instead of like in your van
that you’re driving that’s got four or five hundred parts in it. Carl’s famous among
the Roadster owners. I mean, famous. He works on this car, he hand
tightens every single bolt on the car. I can tell. Like, if it was a blind
test and I said, all right, who did it? Was it Carl? Or was it Tesla Shop? The official shop. I could
tell just by driving it. He took my Roadster and he installed
sound insulation and made a couple of other changes and it became
like a different car. So and I just liked the guy. He’s very honest, straightforward. I like people who love what they’re
doing and that’s Carl to a t. I’ve worked on cars for 30 years. The
level of the guys at Tesla that have done what they’ve done.
It’s just crazy. I worked at Tesla from May
of 2009 through February of 2013. And after I left Tesla, I didn’t work
on Tesla’s for the first year and then the Roadster owners were not
getting the satisfaction and the level of work quality that they wanted. So a few of
them started contacting me. Now I’m working on most of them. People come here versus going to the
Tesla service center, I think we provide a better service and I think
people have just gotten fed up with the way service has been handled. There’s probably a Roadster owner in
the Seattle area that still uses Tesla service, but there
aren’t that many. There is a total of about
fifteen hundred of these cars. I don’t know the exact number, I don’t
know how many are still on the street. LED lighting, a lot of state
of the art stuff back then. Super fast, zero to sixty in 3.9 seconds. This is probably one of the
earliest ones that people would ever see. This is VIN 45. This car here is VIN number 57. It belonged to David Ogden
Stiers, the actor from MASH. He was a good client of mine for all the 10
years and then in his will he gave me this car. The types of people that come to
our shop are ranged from billionaires to, you know, guys that maybe have
a thousand bucks in their pocket. So the people that bought these cars,
all the ones who bought them in Seattle were tech people. They had to put
a deposit on them a couple of years before they were even built. So they put a substantial amount of money
down on these cars in hopes that this company would even build a car. So the fact that these people even
got deliveries of the car, you’ve never seen somebody so excited. The tree hugger in me feels
a little bit better, at least. But the technologist more
than the tree hugger. I wanted to support this technology. When I when I picked it up,
you know, Carl took me around. This is what, this is how this
works, this is how this works. He would take off little plastic covers
and show me how it works. And it was just fascinating. This is technology that
needs to be mainstream. I want to buy the car and I
want also invest in this company because I want this to be the future. I started out as a service
manager for the Seattle area. Tesla kind of blew up so I
quickly was promoted to managing basically the West Coast. Everything under the hat of
Tesla in the service and parts side was something that I was doing. Back in the early
days, service was amazing. Everybody knew Carl Medlock by
name at the Westlake Center. He knew all of us. He knew what numbers we’d go, you know,
the last four digits of the VIN. Mine’s 1322. He knew
right off, 1322’s here. In the northwest, a hundred
percent customer satisfaction was required. It wasn’t an option. And so with that in mind,
that’s how we treated the customers. Tesla, they had a mass exodus where
they fired people but in my fathers and my case, you know, we were
let go under some political issues. They terminated the both of us within
about 20 seconds of each other. The whole environment at Tesla about
who’s going to get who next. That’s who’s left at Tesla. Is who can play the game better. It’s not who’s better, it’s about
who can play the game better. The Roadster community within Tesla we were
all kind of worried when the Model S came out that we were gonna
be left behind and were worried for a good reason, we kind of were. First Carl
left and then some of the other people who were really good. And so
one by one the Tesla Roadster owners have gravitated over here. There’s a local body shop here that
has, at times, has over a hundred model 3s that need paintwork
and or body panels. There’s a Tesla Roadster that sat at
the Seattle service center for over a year and a half
waiting for one component. I just had a Tesla owner, very
high profile local Tesla owner that everybody would know his name, told me
last Thursday that he sold all of his Tesla stock because of
how poor his services is. Handed me the keys to his car and
said, thank you for coming to get my car. And this is a guy who
owns every model that they have. And now I’m working on all of his
cars because he can’t get them fixed at the service center. Six
months from an appointment. There’s a saying in the car business,
the sales department sells the first car, the service department sells
every car after that. And I’ve lived by that. I don’t
have any signs on my building. I have never spent a dollar
on advertising in my entire life. I’m a word of mouth business. I
have cars shipped to me from Florida. I’ve had cars here from Los Angeles. I get referrals all over. I’m on the Facebook Tesla Motors Roadster
page and people refer to me all the time from there. And I have
Tesla employees referring stuff to me. I mean, you say Carl in
a Tesla, everybody knows, right? Oh wow, what did you do?
Your stereo sounds better than mine. All I have to do is say, Carl. Ah he’s got something, and he did. He put another amp in it. And so that’s the thing, Carl
tinkers and tech people appreciate it. We love people who can nerd
out on **** and build things. We love that. Carl’s like a
hero to the Tesla community. This car’s hand built. There
was no assembly line. There was a big pile of parts and
a few dudes, because I flew down to watch it be built, you
know, down in California. And there’s a bunch of dudes and they
put it together and he’s one of ’em. So why wouldn’t you want that
guy working on your car? Tesla knows that we exist, especially
knows that my father exists. Tesla sent me a cease and desist. I wrote go **** yourself on
the envelope and sent it back. They said I wasn’t qualified to
put body panels on the car. So basically we talked about, and I
said, well, who trained your body shops? Well, you did. There are no aftermarket parts for
Tesla’s, the main reason is Tesla’s just jerks. They make it absolutely
impossible for anyone to do business with them. They don’t sell
parts to aftermarket facilities. They won’t sell parts to me. And
I just started making the parts myself. We’ll take a good component that is
not crashed, or crushed, or destroyed and we’ll take it off of
another car that is good. We’ll cast a mold off of that piece
and we’ll literally make a brand new hood or a brand new piece out of carbon
fiber. And that’s how we make the hoods. This is my Tesla parts storage. This is where all the used parts
or crashed parts, I save every little piece. I save even the smallest of
pieces of these cars ’cause Tesla doesn’t have any parts anymore. That’s what
I’m having to do to put these cars back together. Bumpers. There’s my bumper pile. I have a whole bunch of new parts
storage, but all the used stuff is out here. We collect headlights. We collect anything, this Roadster, even
these pans, even though these pans are ripped up
and they’re destroyed. I can take that to a machine shop,
into a tin shop, and I can actually have another one of those stamped out, have
the holes put in it and make a new pan. Cause I have the pattern? That’s what we’re down to
on these cars now. I don’t have any diagnostic
software to fix these cars. I fix these cars because I
know how the components work. I literally go step by step
and diagnose it the hard way. And I don’t have a magic bullet, I don’t
have a scanner that I can plug in and say, oh, this is
what’s wrong with the car. They are locking you out of cars. They don’t want you working on the
cars because as they’ve gotten more complicated, it takes a different skill
set to understand what you’re working on and how
you’re working on it. I completely understand why Tesla is doing
it, but they should have a certification program or a training
program for outside vendors, and suppliers, and aftermarket people like myself and others
that want to work on their cars. It’s a good business model, I think, to
start a line of EV shops that just do EVs. The problem is there’s not a
lot of money in it because there’s not a lot to break. No dealership wants to sell an
electric vehicle because there’s no service work. The money in car dealerships is
made in the service center, not in the sales department. EVs don’t
make sense for car dealers. They make sense for the environment,
they makes sense for the public. But they don’t make sense for car
dealers. That’s why they’re hard to push. You know, there’s a lot of
haters out there on Tesla. But the truth is, who else in
your lifetime can you say innovated something like this? This
is some completely new. Now Elon’s having some troubles and he’s
bouncing off the bottom here and there. But you know what? He still did it. You know, I think
the guy’s a jackass sometimes, but I still support him.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Great piece CNBC! As a former Lotus owner, I was always interested in the Roadster. Knowing Carl is out there would make nabbing one of these something to consider if the price were right.

  2. Tesla lost,they just let one of their best men go now their making more more then Tesla and don’t have to advertise!!Great work Carl & Son I’ll take one of those free cars you got if you want to pass it down!!Elon is a jerk to make cars and not share parts.

  3. How is Tesla still Tesla if everybody who made Tesla got laid off the car I see in this video is the nicest Tesla I ever seen it looks like a lotus I like the lotus

  4. I understand why Tesla doesn’t want just any one working in these but a good a vendor approval program would be a win win

  5. You know I hate to say Tesla technology vs life of material used to make mother boards still isn't working. Labtops on electric motors on fast wheels.

  6. mechanics still have plenty of work with EVs: diagnose / replace power train, diagnose / replace batteries, screens, anything related to A/C, power steering, power windows, power seats, faulty sensors, tires, brakes, heater, engine cooling, tow hitch installation, alignment, etc. It's a complete myth to think EVs will put mechanics out of business…

  7. Carl is a model for how one lives their belief! This should be a story told to all children, adolescents, and adults everywhere.

  8. Buying a Tesla, especially abroad as in Sweden really isn't an option for me. I don't wanna pay 100k+ dollars and to have 6 month waiting time for parts..

  9. Our Latest rebuild This week is PEM rehab

  10. Tesla should thank this man, but then, appearantly, they'd rather have their customers wait 6-12 months for a service appointment so they get every penny…lousy, meanwhile Elon is playing with flamethrowers.

  11. Tesla needs to merge with someone. I think Ford would be smart to get into business with them. It's a win-win scenario for each company. Happens to be a lot of empty factories out there.

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