True to Elon Musk’s tweets on Sunday, Tesla has officially retired free unlimited Supercharging for Model S, Model X, and Model 3 Performance purchased using a referral code. In its place, Tesla has rolled out a $100 Supercharging credit for qualifying vehicles instead.
Tesla has been teasing the end of free unlimited Supercharging for around two years now, but so far, the company has been perennially extending the offer as part of its Referral Program. This has allowed the company to roll out a fleet of premium electric cars that are capable of using the Supercharger Network, arguably one of Tesla’s biggest moats (inasmuch as Elon Musk dislikes the term), for free.
In a series of updates on Sunday, Elon Musk discussed some points about free unlimited Supercharging and why Tesla is ending the program. When asked if the program would be extended to customers in countries where Tesla is yet to establish a presence, for example, Musk noted that free unlimited Supercharging is not really sustainable at this point. Musk further mentioned that the retirement of free unlimited Supercharging should have probably happened sooner.
Sorry, it’s not really sustainable at volume production & doesn’t incent optimal behavior. We probably should have ended this earlier.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 17, 2018
There is no denying that Tesla’s $100 Supercharger credit for new Model S, Model X, and Model 3 Performance purchased using a referral code carries less value than free unlimited Supercharging. That being said, Tesla’s ever-growing fleet of vehicles, augmented by the company’s intentions to ramp its production even more in the near future, means that there will soon be far more Teslas on the roads than ever before. Thus, Tesla’s decision to retire the offer does seem to be the strategic thing to do.
Contrary to competitors such as Porsche, which has explicitly noted that it would be looking to its fast-charging network as a source of revenue, the California-based electric car maker has maintained that it does not look at the Supercharger Network as a major source of profit. This is exhibited in road trips conducted using the Long Range RWD Model 3, a vehicle that does not qualify for free unlimited Supercharging.
Earlier this year, for example, a family who documented their road trip in a Long Range RWD Model 3 noted that Tesla only charged them around 24 cents per kWh (around $12 per charge) when they use the Supercharger Network, which translates to about 6 cents per mile in energy costs for approximately 200 miles of driving. In a fossil fuel-powered vehicle that averages about 26 MPG, the same trip would have cost about $23 in gas, provided that fuel was priced at $2.99 per gallon.
Overall, it is quite unfortunate to see free unlimited Supercharging go, but considering the growth of the company, the retirement of the program has been inevitable for a while now. That being said, the rest of Tesla’s Referral Program remains mostly unchanged from before.
Following is the list of perks for owners who refer their friends and family to the company.
Model S, Model X, and Model 3 Performance: $100 Supercharging Credit
Owners can give five friends a $100 Supercharging credit with the purchase of a new Model S, Model X or Model 3 Performance.
As a thank you, starting September 17, 2018, participating owners will be eligible to receive referral awards.
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.
Race an Electric Semi Truck
One winner each week will get to race a giant electric semi truck around our test track. There will be additional prizes and trophies for the best track times. Each friend who signs up for our newsletter through your referral link gets each of you an entry. Owners can track their entries and the leaderboard in the Tesla App.
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.
Other details of Tesla’s Referral Program can be accessed here.