Tesla needs to invest heavily in fixing its website to improve profitability

When you first learn about Tesla, chances are you jumped on their website and the first impression is that it looks pretty slick. That is until you dive a...

When you first learn about Tesla, chances are you jumped on their website and the first impression is that it looks pretty slick. That is until you dive a little deeper and actually try to buy some things.

For a company as tech-focused as Tesla, the natural expectation is that they’ve invested heavily in their web developers to deliver a slick experience. Unfortunately, it seems this investment isn’t great enough, as many things on their website need work.

Buying a Tesla is an experience unlike almost any other manufacturer, with the vehicle purchase almost always done online (occasionally people go in-store) and hopefully through a referral link like https://ts.la/jason45054 to get some free Supercharging.

After buying a Model 3, the vehicle purchase and configuration worked great, as did the payment technology for the reservation and deposit. Despite these wins, here’s a list of the things that need fixing.

You can’t buy FSD now if you tried.

Recently Musk tweeted about improving Tesla’s profitability to achieve their overall business objective. This was in reference to a customer keen to get Full Self-Driving.

With almost every Tesla that rolled off the production line in 2019, including the FSD hardware, a key focus of the company should be to maximise the ARPU (Average Revenue Per User / Customer).

One way to do that is to sell existing owners on the FSD upgrade which currently sits at A$8,500. This is set to rise soon as new functionality under the FSD banner, like Navigate on Autopilot and Smart Summon is said to be coming soon to Australia.

This cost helps recover the massive ongoing R&D and hardware costs of FSD. With Tesla on a trajectory to soon sell more than a million cars, there’s plenty of scope for owners to see the benefits of FSD and spend more money with Tesla. With that kind of scale, it could meaningfully impact the profitability of the company.

What is interesting is that right now, in Australia, many owners can’t buy FSD, even if they tried. The website currently throws an error when you navigate to your account page, then click on Autopilot Upgrades.

That link should take you to a page to pay Tesla the A$8,500 for FSD, but most of us are currently getting an error page that simply says.. ‘A website error has occurred. The website administrator has been notified of the issue.’

As a general rule in business, you should never make it difficult for people to pay you money, so this really needs to be fixed yesterday.

No Model 3 in the Trip planner

Today I received an email, inviting me to an event in Brisbane. Living in Wodonga, I wanted to confirm the charging locations on the route, to determine if it was indeed possible in my Model 3.

I remembered writing about the Tesla trip planner in the past and found the link. Unfortunately, the Tesla trip planner, at least in Australia, doesn’t yet feature the Model 3, despite it now being on sale for a number of months.

Knowing where the Supercharging locations are, can help potential buyers decide if an EV, or more specifically a Tesla is the right car for them.

While there are of course third party sites like Plugshare, that offer this information, it’s generally a bad idea to have your potential buyers head off to another website when their cursor is hovering over the buy now button.

No pricing on Solar

If you have the electric car in the garage, the next thing you could consider is putting solar on your roof and a Tesla Powerwall in the garage.

After offering the first, then the second generation Powerwall in Australia for a few years now, Tesla recently added Tesla Solar under their Energy tab on the site.

Visiting the Tesla Energy site offers the ability to order now, which takes you to the reservation page. On the right, you get to select the size of the solar array that suits your household needs – Small (3.8kW, Medium 7.6kW or Large 11.4kW).

The problem is other than the fully refundable $100 deposit due today (if you decide to buy), there is no pricing in Australia for the different sized systems. Compare that to the information available on the US site and you really get a sense of just how much is missing.

How much your solar system will cost, is incredibly important to your calculations of return on investment and dramatically influences your decision to hit buy now, or head to another solar provider.

Again Tesla is missing an opportunity to lock in keen fans of the Tesla brand, with another product from their growing portfolio of products and services.

No Shop

Australia and many non-US markets also miss out on Tesla Shop. This means many Tesla products including vehicle accessories, Tesla apparel, charging products and parts, are simply not available in our market.

Weirdly for a technology-first company like Tesla, Aussie Model 3 owners, have to read through a PDF of accessories and then call to order products.

No online Shop really is a massive missed opportunity to allow fans to purchase more products and in the case of apparel, spread the awareness of the brand, start more conversations about electric vehicles and help with the company’s overall goals of getting more people into sustainable transport.

As you can see, their website has a long way to go and Tesla are leaving some serious money on the table when it comes to expanding the income potential of each client.

One more thing while you’re fixing all of this Tesla, please go and buy tesla.com.au, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been there to find you don’t own it. If you’re serious about Australia as a market (you should be, we love our technology and Model 3 is our highest selling EV), then buy the damn domain.

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Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis.
One Comment

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  • EVfusion
    24 October 2019 at 12:18 pm

    Thanks Jason. Let’s hope someone with authority reads and acts.
    I find the continuing absence of the Model 3 from the trip planner incredible (and frustrating).

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