Though Tesla has been making and selling purely electric cars since 2008, and delivered almost 400,000 cars in 2019 alone, the company still spends next to nothing on marketing and advertising. Instead, Tesla relies mostly on word of mouth from existing owners and excitement from bloggers, YouTube influencers, and journalists to sell cars. To this end, the Tesla referral program has been an effective tool in bringing new customers to the brand.
What Is the Tesla Referral Program and What Benefits Does it Offer?
With the Tesla referral program, any owner of a Tesla vehicle can share a unique Tesla referral code or referral link with prospective Tesla buyers. If a buyer uses this referral link or code to purchase or lease a Tesla Model 3, Model Y, Model S, or Model X, then both the buyer and the referrer get a reward or bonus. The actual bonus varies over time, but normally the referral bonus is a free credit on Supercharging. As of December, 2020, the Tesla referral code bonus is 1,000 miles of free supercharging (400 kWh). This means that if you buy a Tesla online using a referral link or over the phone by providing a unique referral code, you and the person who referred you each get 1,000 miles of free Supercharging at Tesla Supercharger stations worldwide. If you have a friend, family member, or acquaintance who owns a Tesla and has influenced you in your decision to buy one, be sure to contact them for their referral link. If you’re looking for a referral link to get a Supercharging bonus on your own Tesla purchase, feel free to use mine (below), so we can both benefit from the referral bonus:
If you order over the phone or in a Tesla store, use the below code.
Tesla Referral Code: christopher55570
In September, 2019, Tesla added solar panels to the list of eligible purchases and in April 2020, they added the Tesla solar roof. So if you purchase a Tesla solar power system using a referral link, you can get a cash reward of $100, once the solar panels are installed. If you refer the sale of a Tesla solar system, you will earn a $400 award. This cash award was increased from $250 to $400 in July, 2020. You can also now earn a Tesla Powerwall home battery system if you refer a total of 10 or more solar power systems. In June 2020, Tesla added the Model Y to the list of referral-eligible vehicles.
In addition to the Supercharging bonus, or cash reward for Solar referrals, owners who refer Tesla sales get entered into drawings to win a Founders Series Tesla Model Y or a Founder Series Tesla Roadster. If you’re a Tesla owner with unlimited free Supercharging, then you get additional entries into the car giveaways for each referral. According to Tesla, Model Y giveaways are held monthly, while Roadster drawings are held held once per quarter (four times per year). Although we have yet to see any formal communications from Tesla about winners, one Tesla owner in Taiwan was reportedly notified about winning a Model Y.
How Do I Find My Tesla Referral Code?
Once you own a Tesla vehicle, you’re eligible for the referral program and can begin referring new Tesla sales. If you haven’t received an email from Tesla with your Tesla referral code yet, you can email the company at firstname.lastname@example.org. But first check in your Tesla app. As a Tesla owner, your referral code appears in the Tesla mobile app in the “Loot Box.” This is the little treasure chest visible in the top right of the Tesla app. From there you can share your code via email, messaging app, or social media. You can also check there to see how many referrals you have and you can see the balance of any bonus miles in your account. In May, 2019, Tesla also restored access to the referral program stats from the “My Account” area of the Tesla web site, so you can also check there for details on your referrals.
Can I Refer a Sale to Myself?
Tesla has stated in the past that owners are eligible to purchase a new Tesla using their own referral link so we assume this is still valid. I used my own referral link when upgrading from a Model 3 to a Model 3 Performance. So if you’re already a Tesla owner, you can click on your own link and complete the purchase in order to get the referral bonuses.
Is the Referral Bonus the Same for Everyone?
Although you may see different referral offers on various web sites, the referral bonus is the same for all owners and referrers. No Tesla referral code is better than any other Tesla referral code. If you see other offers such as unlimited Supercharging, or 2,000 or 5,000 miles of credit – or even $1,000 off the purchase of a Model S or X, you are seeing outdated referral offers which are no longer valid. When you click through on any of these referral links to the Tesla web site, you will see the same current referral offer. We do our best to keep this article updated so it always reflects the current, active referral code offer.
Can I Use a Referral Code to Order a Tesla Model Y, Roadster or Cybertruck?
As of June 15, 2020, a referral code can used to order a Model 3, Model Y, Model S or Model X (or a Tesla solar panel system). Model Y was added as a referral-eligible model in June 2020. As Tesla’s other models make it into general production, we expect that the referral program will be expanded to include these new cars. But currently, you cannot get the referral bonus when ordering a Tesla Cybertruck or Roadster.
Where Can I Find a Supercharger and How Do I Use It?
Tesla’s Supercharger system is a global network of high-speed EV chargers that are currently designed for exclusive use by Tesla cars. Every Tesla made — other than the original Tesla Roadster — is capable of using the Tesla Supercharger network. Tesla continues to add more Supercharger stations every month and has even delivered improved charging speeds to owners via a combination of upgrades to the chargers themselves, hardware improvements to the cars, and software updates delivered over the air to Tesla vehicles. To use a Supercharger, you simply pull up to the charging stall, open your charge port and plug in the charging cable. A read-out in the car and in the Tesla app will show you charging rate and estimated time to a full charge.
Finding a Supercharger is easy, as their locations are built into every Tesla car’s on-board navigation. If you want to find one nearby while driving in your Tesla, just press the right button on your steering wheel and say, “Navigate to Supercharger.” This will present you with a list of the closest Superchargers. Pick one and the navigation system will take you there. If you plot a long-distance trip using Tesla’s on-board navigation, the car will include Supercharger stops along the way automatically, so you’ll never have to worry about running out of juice. You can also find current and planned Supercharger locations here on the Tesla website: www.tesla.com/supercharger
Is the Referral Program Available Worldwide?
The referral program and its benefits are currently available in several countries worldwide, however the program is subject to state, local and national restrictions. So you may or may not be eligible for the program, depending on where you live. In the United States, residents of Ohio and Virginia are ineligible to receive benefits of the referral program, due to local laws. The offer details in different countries may differ from those in the United States (e.g., 1,500 km of free charging in Europe vs. 1,000 miles of free charging in the United States). If you have any questions as to the availability of the referral program in your state or country, you can contact a Tesla referral program rep via e-mail at email@example.com.
How Much Is this Supercharger Bonus Really Worth?
Although Tesla says that the bonus is “1,000 miles of free Supercharging,” what you actually get is a credit of 400 kWh (kiloWatt hours) of free charging in your account per referral. Depending which Tesla you own, this credit may actually get you much further than 1,000 miles down the road. On Tesla’s least efficient vehicle, the Model X P100D, with an EPA rating of 40 kWh/100 miles, that 400 kWh credit should allow you to travel just about 1,000 miles for free. That’s assuming that you don’t already have free unlimited Supercharging on your Model X. But on a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (SR+), with an EPA rating of 24 kWh/100 miles, that 400 kWh credit will allow you to travel over 1,600 miles.
The actual cash value of free Supercharging is the same, no matter which Tesla you own, but it does vary depending on the cost of Supercharging at the stations you choose to charge at. In most parts of the United States, Tesla charges a flat rate per kWh of charge, though some areas charge per minute. As of June 2020, the national average cost per kWh for Supercharging is currently $0.28 (28 cents) per kWh. So we can estimate the average value of this bonus by multiplying 400 kWh times $0.28 = $112.00. After your referral bonus is depleted, you will need to pay per use for Supercharger access.
Do the Bonus Miles Expire?
According to Tesla’s updated terms (last reviewed by CleanTechnica in December 2020), bonus miles currently expire six months after they are added to your account. The exception to this is if you made any referrals between March 21, 2019 and April 27, 2019. Any bonus miles earned during this period expire three years after they were added to your account. Depending on how often you use Superchargers, you may not use the full credit within six months, in which case the unused miles will no longer be available in your account. However, each new referral adds miles to your account, so if you refer at least one new buyer to Tesla every six months, you could theoretically keep Supercharging for free indefinitely. The expiration date and current mileage bonus should appear in your Loot box in the Tesla app.
These expiration terms have been modified more than once since the new referral program went live in March 2019. Originally, the expiration date of your entire mileage pool was extended by six months with each new referral. In Summer of 2019, they capped the maximum expiration date of miles to three years from the most recent referral. And in 2020, they changed the terms again to limit new referrals to expire in six months. To check the current terms of the referral program (including expiration dates), see the details on Tesla’s web site.
Are there Secret Levels to the Referral Program?
In Tesla’s earlier version of the referral program, there was a secret bonus level. For every referral purchase that was made using an owner’s referral code, after the first five referrals, that owner would get a 2% discount toward the purchase of the upcoming new version of the Tesla Roadster Founders Series. Two percent may not seem like much, but considering the Founders Series Roadster will sell for $250,000, this little bonus was actually quite substantial. Once the owner reached 55 referrals, they earned a free Roadster. There are some active bloggers, journalists, and YouTube video producers who exceeded this referral cap and will be able to take home a free Roadster once it’s available. Unfortunately, that initial referral program was discontinued, and, according to the Tesla reps with whom we spoke, the current referral program does not include any secret levels. Of course, Tesla could change this at some point, but the “official” Tesla word is that there are no longer any secret referral bonuses.
Previous Referral Bonuses and Changes to Referral Program Since March, 2019:
- 1,000 Free Supercharger Miles (March 22, 2019 – April 27, 2019)
- 5,000 Free Supercharger Miles (April 28, 2019 – May 29, 2019)
- 1,000 Free Supercharger Miles (May 30th, 2019 – September 9, 2019)
- 2,000 Free Supercharging Miles for Tesla Solar referrals (started September 10, 2019, changed to $100 cash reward on or around September 19, 2019)
- 2,000 Free Supercharging Miles with Delivery before October 1, 2019 (September 10, 2019 – September 30, 2019)
- Cash bonus for solar referrals increased from $100 to $250 in January, 2020
- Model Y added to Tesla referral program in June, 2020
- Cash bonus for solar referrals increase from $250 to $400 for referrer and decreased from $250 to $100 for buyer in July, 2020
- Referrers of Tesla solar panels or solar roof can earn a Tesla Powerwall home battery storage unit when they refer 10 customers (as of July 15, 2020)
- Expiration of bonus miles changed in Summer 2020
Where Can I Find Out More?
Tesla maintains a page with details about the referral program at tesla.com/support/referral-program
Last Updated: December 6, 2020 (mileage expiration terms changed).