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Tesla extends referral program with new incentive to buy without a test drive

Just a week after extending the program through the end of the year, Tesla has again lengthened the duration of the program until March 11. The details stay mostly the same as ever – owners can provide a referral code to new buyers, and each party gets a perk for using it.  Buyers get 6 months of free supercharging and owners get escalating rewards based on how many referrals they’ve made.

But starting today, buyers can also gain an additional 3 months of free supercharging “if they order without ever having taken a test drive” with Tesla.

There are two additional rewards added to the standard rewards as well: a hat and some Model 3 Performance wheels.  Previously, the reward for 1 referral was “launch your photo into deep space orbit”, where Tesla would laser-etch a photo onto glass and send it into space.  Now, instead of just having the promise of that, Tesla will send you a hat to commemorate the occasion.  Hooray.

And for three referrals, Tesla previously offered a choice between a week with a Model S or X or a new set of wheels for either model of car. Tesla is now adding a set of Forged Performance Wheels for Model 3 to the choices for this reward tier, though those won’t be available for installation until at least Summer 2019.

Other aspects of the referral program, such as entries into a drawing to race a Tesla semi or $250 cash for Tesla solar installation referrals (and a 5-year extended warranty for the buyer of the system) remain unchanged.

See the full details of the program on Tesla’s website, or check out the updated reward tiers below:

1 Qualifying Referral:
Launch Your Photo into Deep Space Orbit
We’ll laser-etch any image onto glass and send it into deep space orbit for millions of years. We’ll also send you a limited edition hat to commemorate the launch. Refer more friends while you wait for an alien race to discover your payload.

2 Qualifying Referrals:
Owners can choose either of the options below for each of their second referral.

  • Signature Black Wall Connector
    This matte black Wall Connector is exclusive to the Referral Program and includes an etch of Elon’s signature.
  • Founders Series Tesla Model S for Kids
    Share the Tesla experience of this miniature drivable electric Model S – including working headlights, a sound system and a charge port, just like yours. You can configure the Model S for Kids to keep or donate it to a local children’s charity.

3 Qualifying Referrals:
Owners can choose either of the options below for their third referral.

  • Forged Performance Wheels for Model 3, 21” Arachnid Wheels for Model S or 22” Turbine Wheels for Model X
    Enhance the performance of your Tesla with these exclusive wheels.
    Forged performance wheels for Model 3 Wheels will be available for installation starting Summer 2019.
  • 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.

4 Qualifying Referrals:
Priority Access to Vehicle Software Updates
Be the first to experience the latest Tesla software updates with priority access to selected releases.

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.

Electrek’s Take

The rewards receive a minor update, but a fine one. The first tier seemed cool, but now it will be nice to have something to show for it. And for the increasing number of Model 3 owners out there who couldn’t take advantage of the Model S/X wheel rewards, the Model 3 wheel reward will be quite a welcome addition.

The one change which seems strange is adding 3 months of supercharging for people who purchase despite never test driving with Tesla before.  While I understand this is an incentive by Tesla to get people comfortable with purchasing a car without needing a test drive first, it still seems like those who have done a test drive (perhaps even in the distant past) will be missing out on something here.

It’s similar to Tesla’s offer to let new owners return the car within a day if they’re unsatisfied (or 3 days if they’ve never test driven a Tesla before). In this case though, those who’ve test driven a car before are actually getting a lasting disadvantage. A couple days longer return window isn’t a big deal, but 3 extra months supercharging is a nice additional incentive. I can imagine a few people will feel left out by this policy if it remains as-is.

But then, the point of this whole program is to incentivize owners to do their own selling, give their own test drives, and perhaps take a little bit of the work off Tesla’s hands in doing those things  So if this is Tesla’s attempt to give some additional incentive for utilizing the “owner-salesman” network, it could work.

What do you think about this change?  Let us know in the comments.

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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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