Are Big Changes Coming to the Tesla Referral Program? $23,000,000 Says Yes.

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Update (9/18/21): Tesla has now ended the referral program for everything except the Tesla Solar Roof. Original article follows:

According to our friends at Electrek, Tesla is planning a major revision to their referral program. An earlier version of the referral program allowed referrers to earn substantial prizes such as Tesla wall chargers and even a free (or discounted) Tesla Roadster. But due to the costs involved, Tesla revised the program in 2018, reducing the value of the referral prizes. With the current Tesla referral program, an existing Tesla owner can refer a new buyer to Tesla and when that person completes his or her purchase of a Tesla vehicle, both the buyer and referrer get a bonus. The current bonus is “1,000 free miles of Supercharging.” This actually translates to 400 kWh of supercharger credit, which must be used within six months of activation (otherwise the miles expire).

The value of this perk varies, depending on the cost of Supercharging where you live or travel. But the national average cost of Supercharging in the United States is 28 cents per kWh, which means this 400 kWh credit is worth around $112.00 in the US. But this relatively small dollar figure adds up. According to Electrek, free supercharging has cost Tesla about $23,000,000 so far this year. So in order to cut expenses, the company is apparently considering an overhaul of the program.


A new Model 3 owner supercharges her Model 3 for the first time. Photo by Chris Boylan

Instead of allowing journalists and social media influencers to post their referral codes online for anyone to use, the referral code will be built into the Tesla app, and both the prospective buyer and the referrer will need to identify their referral relationship in the app in order for it to be processed. A test drive may also be required in order to complete the referral, though this could be tricky for buyers in certain markets (those who have no local Tesla store). A source at the company says that the Tesla app itself will soon have value to those who do not yet own a Tesla, so it will make sense for them to download the app before they actually buy a car.

The current Tesla referral program also offers incentive for Tesla owners to refer their friends to buy a Tesla solar power system. In this case, the referred buyer gets a $100 bonus and the referrer gets a $400 bonus once the system has been installed. In the current referral system, referring owners can also earn a Tesla Powerwall home battery if they refer 10 or more solar power system sales. It is not clear if this portion of the referral program will remain after the system is revised.

We have no official confirmation yet from Tesla as to when this may occur, but we’ll share more when we know more. So stay tuned.

Read more about the Tesla Referral Program.

See the latest Tesla referral offer via my referral link: me on Twitter @MrBoylan

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Chris Boylan

is an EV and alternative fuel enthusiast who has been writing about technology since 2003.

Chris Boylan has 56 posts and counting. See all posts by Chris Boylan