Former Tesla employee realizes this had to be done.
It wasn't so many years ago when Tesla was first starting with only one model, the Roadster. Unlike today's lineup, the original Tesla Roadster was based off a Lotus design although it featured a then state-of-the-art all-electric drivetrain. And then the Model S arrived and everything changed for Tesla from that point on. Although the EV automaker has certainly had its share of ups and downs since, there's no denying it changed the auto industry forever. But what about the Roadster (not the upcoming second-generation model)? We hear so little about it anymore.
Built beginning in 2008, a total of 2,450 examples were produced until sales ceased at the end of 2012. About 1,500 are on the road in the US (Musk's Roadster is on its way to Mars). In the big scheme of things, there's really not many Roadsters out there and Tesla, apparently, can't be bothered to maintain them. That's where Carl Medlock comes into the picture.
The former Tesla employee who worked as a service manager now has his own company, Medlock & Sons. Based in Seattle, Washington, CNBC recently visited him and his operation because he's providing the maintenance services these Roadster owners desperately need. After all, some cars are going on 11 years old. The shop has been in operation since 2014 and it's one of the few place where Roadster owners can receive repairs, upgrades, and general maintenance. It's not that Tesla refuses to service these Roadsters, it's just that it doesn't have the time.
One Roadster owner, for example, waited for over a year because a 400-volt controller was not available. That owner later took his car to Medlock (Tesla did give the guy a Model S loaner while he waited). Medlock and his two sons, Randy and Austin, are also able to fix Roadsters involved in crashes. They can also rebuild electronics, fix paint, sound reduction, and even custom headlights. Needless to say, Medlock has become known as the "Roadster whisperer."
Many of Medlock's clients are tech executives and celebrities. "He took my Roadster, installed sound installation, made a couple of other changes and it became like a different car," said David Vaskevitch, Microsoft's former chief technology officer. "And I just like the guy! He's very honest, straightforward. I like people who love what they're doing and that's Carl to a t."
Many in the Roadster community feel as if they've been pushed aside since Tesla's lineup expansion, but Medlock's commitment to the EV has made him a hero amongst owners.