My New England "home delivery" experience

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Active member
Apr 4, 2016
Tesla Owner
Model 3
I haven't seen much discussion about "home delivery" of the Model 3 so I thought describing my experience would be helpful to those who are going through the process.

We were planning to use the car in northern New England through the summer, so I asked about picking it up at the Dedham, Massachusetts Service Center. Unfortunately, Mass. charges significant fees for any car delivered in the state even if it is going to be registered elsewhere, so the Delivery Specialist referred me to another guy in Tesla who handles home delivery (shipment). That way we could have the car shipped directly to us in Vermont.

The Tesla rep was excellent and responsive to emails/calls, but the overall experience needs some improvement. I was told the car was already in Dedham so I paid for it in full, in order to get the shipment going ASAP. This was a mistake. The next day I was told "the computer" was wrong and the car was actually in Fremont, California and would take three weeks to arrive.

It turned out to take about 3 weeks and four days. The car went by rail from Fremont to Alabama, then to New Jersey for pre-delivery inspection and detailing, then got loaded on the final truck to me. I got weekly updates from my Delivery Specialist and he got back to me in <24 hours every time I asked a question.

The registration was handled by Tesla since they had a presence in the state where I would be ultimately registering the car (this isn't possible for some states like Texas). However, the car arrived with no paperwork at all. I was told the registration documents would arrive "5-7 days" after the car. This is weird since I paid in full 3 weeks earlier; why couldn't they start the registration process then?

Finally I got an email saying my car was loaded and I would hear from the driver in 48 hours. 72 hours later I hadn't heard so I followed up. That night at 10:00 pm the driver called and we arranged to meet at noon the next day. By the way, the drivers are not Tesla employees, they're contracted third parties, and they aren't responsible for anything except delivering the merchandise.

For that reason, the delivery experience is bare-bones. The driver unloads the car, you sign, he leaves. That's it. No walkthrough, no paperwork, no assistance with anything you might not understand. So this option is best for people who already have researched everything before delivery.

The driver could not fit his truck in our neighborhood, so we met at a nearby Lowe's parking lot. (When people ask where I got the car, I say "I got it at Lowe's".) It took only about 5 minutes to attract a couple of curious watchers, who sat in their car and watched the car get unloaded.

In my case the car arrived in a closed carrier, which was great. The car was in perfect condition and clean except for a very fine layer of dust. It was sort of fun to strip off some of the protective covers, like a "shower cap" on the steering wheel, the paper floor mats, the screen protector, and even little mirror protectors on the visors.

A quick walk-around inspection is a really good idea before you sign and let the driver go. I found the Mobile Connector in the frunk, and the Monroney sticker in the back seat. There are a couple of booklets and a screen-cleaning cloth in the glovebox. But my scale model Tesla wasn't included! (I plan to ask for that.)

Also missing was any type of temporary registration. The car arrived with a front plate holder attached and a rear "Tesla Model 3" plate surround, but no plates at all. I drove it away without plates and hoped I wouldn't get pulled over.

Later that day I emailed the Delivery Specialist and he said I should obtain a temporary registration until the permanent one arrived. I tried and found that my state's DMV had no record of the car's VIN, so they wouldn't help me. I emailed the DS again and a couple of hours later he emailed me a PDF with a 30 day temporary plate that I could print out on paper. (I already had insurance set up.)

This was great customer service but it would have been better if Tesla had anticipated this problem and either submitted my registration sooner or provided a temporary plate at delivery.

The DS had also said (earlier) "Please let me know when you get the car so I can try to expedite the app access." But three days later I still don't have app access so I'm not sure that effort helped.

Tesla needs to improve aspects of their home delivery process, and anyone going through it should be prepared for a few glitches, but overall I
am thrilled to have my car. It's as close to perfect as any vehicle can be, and it was worth the wait.

My suggestions to Tesla:

1. Provide a "Welcome to your car" document or email at delivery to help orient the customer and let them know what to expect over the first few days (app access, paperwork). It would also be nice to have pointers on how to get additional key cards, remove or attach the front license plate bracket (we don't need it in AZ so I'll be removing it), and to the online tutorial videos.

2. Make sure the vehicle registration is ready at delivery, not afterward (if applicable in that state).

3. Speed up app access. Why does it take 2+ days to get the car assigned to the Tesla account? The app should be available on delivery day if the car is fully paid.

4. Don't forget the scale model for us first-day reservationists! I hate having to email the Delivery Specialist again to ask for my freebie.

But overall —thank you, all Tesla employees and Elon Musk. You guys did a great job and you're changing the world.