Rich Benoit has been delighted with Tesla's electric vehicles since the company first launched its flagship sedan, the Model S. The IT manager turned his curiosity to YouTube's fame in 2016, publishing videos about the cars, including how buy, repair and exploit. Teslas destroyed by spare parts.
"The reason I started my YouTube channel was to demystify Teslas in general, some years ago I bought a Tesla Model S and started disarming it to see if I could put it back together," Benoit said. Today, its channel "Rich Rebuilds" is approaching 500,000 subscribers. The most popular episode, "Can you drown a Tesla engine?" It has obtained 2.3 million visits in less than a year.
By dubbing him as "Dr. Frankenstein of Teslas," his followers often send payments to support his habit of blogging in the video, as well as random items for his cars, his home and his garage.
You have received custom car parts, such as nuts, door handles, floor mats, as well as air fresheners, cleaning products and more. Someone sent him a life-size poster of Elon Musk. Someone had delivered pizza to his house, which Benoit liked. On the weirdest side of the viral stardom video, a fan sent Benoit a puppy preserved in formaldehyde in a jar.
Over the years, Benoit said, followers increasingly sought out where to get a good price on a spare part, or offered to pay him to fix their cars when the Tesla service centers could not or would not.
In the winter of 2018, Benoit partnered with a former parts manager for Tesla, Chris Salvo, to open his own repair shop. Except he is also the founder of EV Tuning, an online store that sells parts and accessories to owners of electric vehicles.
While both have been reducing the day's jobs, this spring they began construction of their Electrified Garage in Seabrook, New Hampshire.
"I never thought about opening my own store," said Benoit. "But Tesla had denied me so many times that I really started to think that there is a bigger picture here, another player that can help others and get parts too, now there is a place where people can go to a third party. .
According to Benoit and Salvo, their typical customers own unsecured Model S cars, or models 3 with spare parts that have invalidated their warranties so they can not make Tesla work for them.
Chris Salvo and Rich Benoit are the founders of the Electrified Garage.
Magdalena Petrova | CNBC
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has long promised to increase the company's service in North America.
In July 2018, he tweeted: "Tesla's body shops are increasing rapidly, the goal is to go from more than 30 days using body repair workshops external to the body repair on the same day with pre-loaded parts in the centers. Tesla service ".
But Tesla is currently in a belt-tightening phase, recovering from massive layoffs and even under pressure to reduce costs. So, it is not clear when the company can fulfill Musk's promises. This week, the CEO told Tesla's service skeptics on Twitter, "we are increasing Tesla's service centers and mobile service around the world."
Until more service centers are opened, or Tesla adds capacity and technicians, including the "Rangers", who drive to the customer's door to repair their cars, which begin as the Electrified Garage are ready to repair, modify or rebuild .