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Tesla adds Model 3 Performance to referral program, will limit free supercharging for orders after September 16th

Tesla’s referral program was set to finish tonight, but, as they’ve done many times before, instead it got a midnight update extending it for a little while longer.  The program now goes through September 16th instead of July 31st, with prize availability unchanged from the last round of the program.

There are two big changes: first, the Model 3 Performance is now eligible for unlimited supercharging when ordered using a referral code, previously only available to Model S and X orders.  Second, while S/X/3P cars ordered with a code before September 16th will still qualify for free unlimited supercharging for the entire duration of original vehicle ownership, cars ordered after September 16th will only get one year of free supercharging.

In addition, Tesla says that “all Model 3 Performance orders placed before August 1, 2018 will be given unlimited Supercharging, no referral required.”

The referral program also still offers a chance to race the Tesla Semi, simply by using an owner’s referral code to sign up for the Tesla newsletter.  If you do, both you and the owner get an entry into a weekly raffle with a chance to drive the Tesla Semi around Tesla’s test track.

Here is the full list of prizes for owners, unchanged from the previous version of the program:

1 to 2 Qualifying Referrals:
Owners can choose either of the options below for each of their first and second referrals.

  • Signature Black Wall Connector
    This matte black Wall Connector is exclusive to the Referral Program and includes an etch of Elon’s signature. This award will start shipping in July 2018.
  • Founders Series Tesla Model S for Kids
    Share the Tesla experience with your kids, with this miniature drivable electric Model S – including working headlights, a sound system, and a charge port, just like yours.

3 Qualifying Referrals:
Early Access Token for Solar Roof
Be one of the first to get Solar Roof with this early-access token for priority scheduling of a Solar Roof installation. If you do not use this award, the token may be given to a friend.

4 Qualifying Referrals:
Owners can choose either of the options below for their fourth referral.

  • 21” Arachnid Wheels for Model S or 22” Turbine Wheels for Model X
    Enhance the performance of your Tesla with these exclusive wheels.
  • One Week with Model S or Model X
    Experience a new Model S or Model X for one week—at home or on the road. If you do not use this award, this exclusive test drive may be given to a friend.

5 Qualifying Referrals:

  • Tesla Unveiling Invitation
    Experience an official unveiling event. Owners who reach five referral orders will be invited to a future unveiling event. Your VIP invitation will be valid for you and one guest.
  • Founders Series Powerwall 2
    Store energy for future use and provide backup power with this red, limited-production Powerwall 2 home battery.

You can also use a Tesla referral code on any Tesla solar energy installation.  If you use a referral code when installing solar, you’ll get a 5-year extension on the limited warranty for your solar system, and the code’s owner will receive the prizes below:

Solar: 5-Year Extended Limited Warranty

Owners can give five friends a 5-year extended limited warranty on a new solar energy system installation, and will be eligible to receive referral awards.

1 to 4 Qualifying Referrals:
Receive $400 cash or $750 in credit per each installed referral.
Credits are valid for 12 months from the referral installation date and can be used toward new Tesla products or accessories.

5 Qualifying Referrals:
Founders Series Powerwall 2
Store energy for future use and provide backup power with this red, limited-production Powerwall 2 home battery.

Electrek’s Take

With these changes today, it looks like Tesla may be almost done tweaking the referral program, and hoping to reach a steady-state result.  Until now, they’ve had to update the program every few months, often changing prize availability and the incentives for referrals. But it looks like, after September 16th, Tesla could just continually offer a year of free supercharging and not have to worry too much about overcrowding their chargers, or having to modify the referral program every few months.

We’ve known for some time that eventually, unlimited supercharging will have to go away, in order to incentivize owners to charge at home (which is more convenient anyway, since a car is typically parked at home every night) and to reduce strain on the supercharger network.

This will especially be important as Tesla expands their fleet – the Model 3 is already selling as much as the S and X combined and will be outselling them very soon.  So it’s interesting to see the Model 3 Performance added to the list of vehicles getting unlimited supercharging.

But on the other hand, Tesla wants to incentivize people to purchase higher-end models with higher profit margins.  A teardown analysis already showed that the Model 3 is surprisingly profitable, so the high-end version of that car is probably worth quite a bit of money to Tesla in their quest for a profitable second half of the year.

So today’s changes seem to fit both of these goals – incentivizing buyers to buy more high-value vehicles instead of waiting for the base Model 3, but also adding a limit to the “unlimited supercharging” program so that eventually superchargers won’t be so overcrowded.  It seems like a good move by Tesla and finally signals the end of unlimited supercharging which we’ve all known would eventually happen.

And by signaling the end of lifetime unlimited supercharging on September 16th, Tesla can expect a big rush of orders to fill the order books through at least the end of Q3 and part of the way into Q4.

Might this change induce you to bite the bullet and order a Performance model (which Seth recently mused may be “the best car at any price“)?  Let us know in the comments.

(Update: a previous version of this article stated that unlimited supercharging is only available for one year on new vehicle orders – in fact, this is only the case for orders placed after September 16th)

If you’re looking to order a Model S or X, or the newly-added Model 3 Performance, you can use our referral code to receive unlimited supercharging on any vehicle order placed between now and September 16, or free supercharging for one year on any order placed after that.  The same code can be used for a 5-year extended warranty on a Tesla solar energy system.

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Avatar for Jameson Dow Jameson Dow

Jameson has been driving electric vehicles since 2009, and has been writing about them and about clean energy for since 2016.

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