Car owners in North America received a late holiday present from Tesla Motors Inc. The Palo Alto-based electric vehicle maker said Wednesday it will provide free towing up to 500 miles for any problems covered under warranty that leave car owners roadside.
The move helps to narrow geographic gaps between the company’s service centers as the number of Tesla vehicle owners grows, spreading out from the company’s California sales and service stronghold. The previous towing limit was 50 miles.
The complimentary towing covers “vehicle malfunctions due to warrantable issues, transportation services for the first 500 miles is covered by Tesla,” according to the revised wording of the company’s Roadside Assistance policy, announced through its Twitter account.
The company’s warranty covers the battery pack and drive unit, the core of Tesla’s unique powertrain that gives it the longest range ever attained by an electric car. Tesla has sold about 107,000 electric cars since 2012 and in September began trickling out a small number of Model X family utility vehicles. Most of these cars are Model S sedans that have been sold in North America, so the expanded warranty covers most Tesla owners.
Tesla said in its recent letter to shareholders that it expects to sell 80,000 to 90,000 vehicles this year, though some independent analysts estimate the company would deliver fewer vehicles as it ramps up the Model X production at a slower-than-expected pace.
On Tuesday, a Consumer Reports magazine automotive tester said Tesla is “having reliability issues.” The widely influential magazine said in 2014 and 2015 that the Model S was the best overall vehicle on the market, but later cited a few reliability problems, including ones covered by the company’s four-year, 50,000-mile warranty.