Lone Tesla Roadster Repairer
September 11, 2019—An auto technology shop in Phoenix is said to be one of the only places in the world that is able to repair old Tesla Roadster models that will no longer be serviced.
With 2,400 Roadsters—the first Tesla model—out in the world, it’s a tiny agenda that Gruber Motor Company is able to fix, says Pete Gruber, CEO of the company. And because they are known as the only company to fix them, they are shipped to their shop from all over the world. Matt Damon’s Roadster is in the shop right now, says Gruber.
Their warehouse is filled with Tesla Roadsters, which were the first model Tesla built. But Tesla no longer repairs specific parts for that model. They will only replace the entire item needed, which is very costly for owners.
The reason Tesla shops won’t repair old models is because of their complexity.
“What they have done for five years is reverse engineered the old one and saw the decline and serviceability and what built their company,” Gruber says.
Gruber is an owner of a Roadster, too. He says consumers of this model feel abandoned, and felt they deserved to be treated special, as they were the first ones to take a chance on Tesla. And because of this, Gruber’s electronics company decided to get into the automotive industry.
"We actually go inside and repair and what is wrong with the pack, which then ends up being either $1,500 to $5,000, substantially less than what Tesla would charge," Gruber says.
Gruber’s engineers are in a lab repairing the circuit boards instead of working directly on the car like most auto repair shops.
"This is almost like a hospital ward. We've got three Roadsters a couple of weeks ago. Two of them came back to life. They're like in a coma and when we charge them to a certain level, they start talking to us again and they come back to life," Gruber says.
Gruber says everything the repair shop does is reverse engineered, and he is always looking for engineers familiar with cars to help with this growing demand.
Gruber says an internal combustion engine has 2,000 moving parts, while Tesla’s Model S only has 18. These new EVs are computers on wheels, he says, and an average mechanic won’t know how to fix these cars; they need people who have an understanding of technology and software.