Tesla service center opens in Berkeley 18 months after application to zoning board

The new Tesla service center at 901 Gilman St. in West Berkeley opened on Feb. 4. All photos: Tracey Taylor

Eighteen months after submitting an application to the Berkeley zoning board, Tesla opened the doors to a service center at 901 Gilman St. (entrance on Eighth Street) today, in the building that used to house Pyramid Alehouse before it shuttered in 2015.

The 46,000 square-foot Tesla space employs a staff of 25, according to Chris Carroll, manager of the new center, who acknowledged the electric car manufacturer was hoping the business would be open sooner.

Carroll said the site may also one day include a car dealership. That involves more applications to the city, however, so there is no timeline as yet for commercial sales.

Tesla owners can schedule appointments for services by logging into their Tesla accounts online.


Tesla has in fact already been offering services from a Berkeley site, but they were done by a mobile team based in a non-customer-facing location on the Eastshore Highway, according to Carroll, who oversaw that operation for a year following his service with the Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps at UC Berkeley.

The new service center encompasses a warehouse-like area where mechanics work on vehicles, as well as offices and a big open-plan waiting area.

There will be no charging stations at the location, Carroll said, mainly due to space constraints.

The nearest service centers to Berkeley before this new site opened were in San Rafael, Dublin and downtown San Francisco. There is a Tesla “super charging station” in Alameda — where a car can be 70% charged within about 30 minutes — and one is being planned for Emeryville, Carroll said.

Tesla would not release figures on how many of its cars are bought by Berkeley residents, or in any specific geography. It delivered more than 350,000 vehicles in total in 2018, according to a press statement, up from 120,000 at the beginning of that year. In the last quarter of 2018 it was delivering 1,000 cars a day, roughly 71% of which were the latest model, the Model 3, and 29% of the older Model X and Model S.

Tesla joins a variety of businesses in the vast, 115,000-square-foot former Pyramid building in West Berkeley, including alternative milk producer Ripple Foods, Blue Bottle Coffee (which makes its cold brew products there), Starter Bakery, and mapping and location company Here North America.

Clarification: This story was updated after publication to reflect the fact that the original application for the service center was made in August, not October 2017.