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Tesla Ending The Referral Program On February 1st — But Why?

Tesla Ending The Referral Program On February 1st — But Why?


Revealed on January 20th, 2019 |
by Paul Fosse

January 20th, 2019 by Paul Fosse 

Observe: There’s an extended intro about my historical past with EVs, EV advocacy, and selecting a Tesla Mannequin three. To go straight to the half concerning the Tesla referral program, bounce to the part titled “But What About The Referral Program?”

The function of writing this text is to inform you my expertise with the Tesla referral program and why I feel it’s ending.

I’ve been speaking and writing about automobiles since about 1974. I used to be very within the transition from rear-wheel drive to front-wheel drive. It appeared like such a big change within the business. But in comparison with the transition from gas-powered automobiles to electrical ones, it’s small.

Entrance-wheel drive automobiles use rather less fuel and have a bit of higher gasoline financial system, however they don’t disrupt the oil business or threaten to break the careers of hundreds of engineers and manufacturing associates within the automotive business. No, this a a lot bigger transition.

I’ve been on this transition since about 2010. I had heard of electrical automobiles earlier than then, however I actually thought they have been a joke. But I keep in mind seeing some articles on the upcoming Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt. Fuel had spiked as much as virtually $5 a gallon and I needed to attempt one thing to economize.

My brother-in-law in Brazil stated that many individuals transformed taxis there to make use of pure fuel and that saved some huge cash, but when your installer made a mistake, your automotive blew up. That didn’t sound very protected. I appeared into the one manufacturing automotive that makes use of pure fuel, the Honda Civic GX, and that sounded lots safer. I came upon there have been solely a pair stations in Tampa and thought that may be a problem, however vary was good at about 250 miles.

The Leaf and Volt might cost at my home, which sounded quite a bit simpler, and the price financial savings have been comparable. I wasn’t apprehensive about lengthy journeys, since I might take my Honda Odyssey for these. So I made a decision to purchase both a Leaf or a Volt. They have been each popping out about the identical time and I picked the Leaf for three causes.

  1. The Leaf seated 5 and the Volt seated four. I’ve a household of 5, so the Leaf might take the entire household. This ended up not being that essential for my household, however it was higher for carpooling youngsters.
  2. I used to be (and to some extent, nonetheless am) upset with GM for taking the bailout.
  3. The Leaf was about $5,000 much less and I figured if I wanted extra vary, I might commerce automobiles with my spouse.

So after an 18 month wait, I bought the Leaf on December 1st, 2012, making me one of many first EV house owners in Florida (aside from a number of Tesla Roadster house owners and individuals who had transformed their automobiles of their garages). I obtained invited to the native AAA workplace to the grand opening of their degree 2 chargers and obtained interviewed by a number of of the native TV stations. I emphasised how the automotive was “normal.” It was fairly quick off the beginning and really quiet, and naturally emissions free. In speaking to a whole lot of individuals about my Leaf (and perhaps one million on the morning information), I satisfied my supervisor to purchase a Leaf by way of a $199 leasing particular. Most individuals thought it was a neat concept, however didn’t just like the styling or the effort of the brief vary and having to seek out charging stations.

Once I heard the Tesla Mannequin three was popping out for $35,000 and it was rumored to be quick, good wanting, and have over 200 miles of vary, I used to be . Not sufficient to face in line or take off work, however sufficient to go surfing to place down a $1000 reservation an hour earlier than it was revealed. Keep in mind, I paid greater than $35,000 for my top-of-the-line Leaf! I figured if I might get a Tesla for a similar or somewhat extra money, it will be a very good deal!

When it got here time to configure my order, 2 years later, I used to be disillusioned that the $35,000 automotive wasn’t obtainable and I must both purchase a costlier mannequin or wait just a little longer. I mentioned it with my spouse and though I needed the brief vary mannequin, she needed the lengthy vary mannequin anyway. We selected a shade (I talked her into Midnight Silver) and she or he talked me into the efficiency wheels, saying the aero wheels appeared geeky. Since I don’t actually do numerous freeway driving, I used to be undecided on Enhanced Autopilot, however determined to get it as a result of I actually need full self driving when it comes out and it saved you $1,000 to purchase it up entrance (now it saves you $2,000).

Once I acquired the automotive, it was every little thing I hoped it might be — quick, enjoyable, and good wanting! As I’ve written earlier than, individuals have been rather more within the Mannequin three than they have been within the Leaf. Virtually everybody who sees and rides within the automotive feedback on how they see that is the longer term and can purchase an electrical automotive sooner or later sooner or later. Most will not be able to make the change in the present day. It’s simply too totally different for them to soak up all that new know-how. I perceive. I felt the identical approach once I first noticed the iPhone. It was neat, however I simply couldn’t perceive how it might change all the things.

Journey to Sarasota

I had been studying CleanTechnica for years and critically thought-about going to an EV convention that they participated in over in Cocoa, FL. Sadly, the convention was in the course of the week and I didn’t need to take trip time to go to it. But I did need to meet a number of the EV specialists that labored at CleanTechnica. Once I learn that Zachary was shifting again to Sarasota and hadn’t but pushed a Mannequin three, I knew that I ought to let him drive mine.

This was again earlier than you can go to a Tesla vendor and simply drive them anytime. In July 2018, the sellers didn’t have any demos but. So I drove there with my pals and obtained to satisfy Zachary! After that journey, Zachary inspired me to start out writing a bit bit for the location. I had been selling Tesla on my Fb timeline for years, however the reception was not particularly heat. Most of my Fb associates didn’t like Tesla, since they acquired assist from the federal government and thought the corporate would fold as quickly because the subsidies ended. I discovered if you write for a website that’s professional EV, that you simply get a a lot better reception.

But What About The Referral Program?

Sure, I get just a little off matter telling tales, however the level is to provide you context that I didn’t begin out simply making an attempt to get Tesla referrals. I actually do have an extended curiosity in EVs and simply stumbled into the referral program accidentally.

For my first 6 articles, I didn’t even embrace my referral code. The free Supercharging was solely good for Mannequin S and Mannequin X automobiles (later, the Mannequin three Efficiency was added) and I figured everybody I knew and who learn my articles couldn’t afford that costly of a automotive.

That each one modified on October sixth when Tesla expanded the referral program to permit consumers of ALL Mannequin 3s to get free Supercharging! I knew that the $49,000 automotive with tax credit score, fuel, and upkeep financial savings was reasonably priced to many extra individuals, so I began to incorporate my referral code in my articles, whereas additionally encouraging individuals to make use of codes of individuals they know in individual. I didn’t know if individuals would use it, however I assumed I’d as nicely embrace it, simply in case they didn’t know any Tesla house owners.

The prize I actually needed was to be invited to the Mannequin Y unveiling (5 referrals). Issues have modified lots in three months. As I discussed this previous week, I now have 75 referrals and have came upon that there are secret ranges that let you get reductions on the upcoming Tesla Roadster. It seems I get 1 Roadster free and 1 at a 40% low cost. I hope to get a number of extra referrals within the subsequent 2 weeks so I can get a bigger low cost on the second Roadster. The taxes and insurance coverage on the Roadster could also be fairly excessive, so it might be robust to afford it, even it’s free, so most individuals who’ve plenty of referrals try to get 2 to allow them to promote one to pay the taxes on the opposite— and may thus maintain it. In any other case, most will simply should promote it as an alternative of driving it.

For every referral, somebody in my place will get one other 2% off the worth of a Founder’s Version Roadster, which is predicted to value $250,000. So, every referral is value $5,000 earlier than tax, about $2,500 after tax. The advantages to the customer are sadly smaller. The 6 months of free Supercharging (9 months in the event you haven’t check pushed a Mannequin three) is value about $200, assuming you employ it for 1000 miles a month for six months as an alternative of charging at house for 13 cents a kWh.

Word that the worth of supercharging simply went up (it now could be totally different at each station and isn’t fixed all through the state) and is about 30 cents a kWh. So, should you examine it to 9 months at 1000 miles a month and 30 cents a kWh, your financial savings go as much as $675.

So, whereas the decrease degree prizes are about equal on the customer and referrer aspect, the bigger prizes are a lot bigger for the referrer. This inspired some dangerous conduct, with individuals promoting their referral codes and sponsoring exhibits to have individuals function another person’s referral code. The drawback is that is each getting costly and making the model appear a bit like a multi-level advertising rip-off.

Let’s play with some numbers. If Tesla sells 400,000 automobiles subsequent yr and each individual makes use of a referral code from an proprietor who’s shopping for a Roadster, they might be giving as much as $2 billion in reductions on eight,000 Roadsters. That’s about double Tesla’s anticipated earnings subsequent yr. That may be a significant issue.

Now, that may solely happen if the referrals have been all given by a gaggle of eight,000 tremendous referrers. Tesla bought 245,240 automobiles in 2018. If these have been distributed to 2450 tremendous referrers, it will value Tesla $1.2 billion in Roadster reductions. As an alternative, as you’ll be able to see from this website, it seems they have been distributed to about 75 individuals (myself included) who’re more likely to get about 100 free or closely discounted Roadsters, costing Tesla about $25 million, or solely about 2% of the potential value. But I feel four issues apprehensive Tesla:

  1. As time went on, extra of the house owners would unlock the key degree and price the corporate vital cash.
  2. The publicity of the dangerous actors and inequity of the advantages between the consumers & small referrers and the massive referrers (like myself) can be dangerous for the model.
  3. Freely giving too many free Roadsters would harm the picture of that automotive. Whether it is to maintain it’s unique attract, they will’t construct and provides away too lots of them.
  4. Gifting away free Supercharging encourages individuals to Supercharge as an alternative of charging at house. This isn’t how the system is designed, and with many extra Tesla’s hitting the street within the subsequent yr, it might trigger overcrowding.


I feel it’s a good choice that Tesla is ending the referral program for all the explanations I defined above. I promoted EVs earlier than the referral program and can proceed to advertise them after it ends.

But I’ll admit it did change my conduct considerably. It inspired me to write down extra on Tesla and fewer concerning the different EVs on the market (though, truthfully, within the US, there wasn’t a lot happening extra thrilling than the Mannequin three explosion in gross sales). I’ve a number of articles on different topics (hybrids, photo voltaic, and so on.) that I’ve delayed to give attention to Tesla, because the referral program is a restricted time alternative.

With all of that stated, if you wish to benefit from my Tesla referral hyperlink to rise up to 9 months free Supercharging (6 months when you’ve got check pushed a automotive with Tesla) on a Mannequin S, Mannequin X, or Mannequin three, right here’s the code: — but as I’ve stated earlier than, if one other proprietor helped you extra, please use their hyperlink as an alternative of mine. 


Tags: Nissan, Nissan Leaf, Nissan LEAF long-term evaluate, Tesla, Tesla Mannequin three, Tesla Mannequin three long-term assessment

Concerning the Writer

Paul Fosse I have been a software program engineer for over 30 years, first engaged on EDI software program and extra lately creating knowledge warehouse techniques within the telecommunications and healthcare business. Alongside the best way, I’ve additionally had the prospect to assist begin a software program consulting agency and do portfolio administration for a number of funding trusts. In 2010, I took an curiosity in electrical automobiles as a result of fuel was getting costly. In 2015, I began studying CleanTechnica and took an curiosity in photo voltaic, primarily as a result of it was a menace to my oil and fuel investments in my funding trusts. Tesla investor. Tesla referral code:

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