Hybrids & Electrics

You Should Really Read the Fine Print for Tesla’s Referral Program

When the clean energy and vehicle company Tesla came up with the concept of their direct sales model, it was pretty revolutionary. Combined with Tesla’s referral program, at one point it was possible to earn a free Tesla with your referrals. The program has changed a lot over the years, and in fact, there’s currently something in the fine print that owners should be sure to make themselves aware of. 

The Tesla referral rewards

Tesla’s direct sales model differs from the way we have normally purchased vehicles. Traditionally, privately owned dealerships will sell cars for the manufacturer. When you want to buy a Tesla, you go directly to Tesla, Inc. to make your purchase. There’s no middle man. 

All you have to do is go to Tesla’s website, choose your model, and click “order now.” You’re then guided through choosing your performance levels and options like wheels and colors. Your custom vehicle is then delivered to your door within 6 to 9 weeks. 

Once someone becomes a Tesla owner, they get their own, unique referral code. If they refer someone to Tesla and that person becomes a new customer, they get miles. Currently, Tesla gives 1,000 free miles of charging on the supercharger network to both the referring customer and the new customer. You also get miles when you initially purchase the vehicle. 

What’s in the fine print?

Tesla drivers happy with their accumulated miles better not get too comfortable, however. The fine print in the referral program contract states that their free charging miles don’t last forever. Instead of staying in the owner’s “bank” forever, the miles can expire after just six months if not used. There has been some confusion, however, because it’s unclear when the mileage deducts and resets.

The miles are for Tesla’s Supercharger stations, which the automaker boasts are the world’s fastest charging network. The problem is, not all drivers with referral miles use the supercharger network all that much. Customers can charge wherever at home, the workplace, or wherever. This means that drivers may not have the occasion to charge at a supercharger station within the 6 months allowed, and they would lose their miles.

Any Tesla qualifies

If you buy any Tesla in the lineup, you get reward miles. The current lineup includes Model S, a four-door sedan with best-in-class storage. The automaker’s original model also features an all-electric powertrain, all-wheel drive, and the quickest acceleration available at 2.3 seconds to go from 0 to 60 mph.

The Model 3 has a range of 322 miles and hits 60 miles per hour in just 3.2 seconds. The Model X manages to have room for up to 7 passengers, with a 351-mile range and a five-star safety rating. It’s one of the safest SUVs ever and was built from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

The Model Y is another available SUV. It can also transport up to 7 people and all their cargo, with all rows folding flat for a large load floor. Both Tesla SUVs have a coupe-like appearance.

While Tesla is one of the few companies to have an incentive program like this, there is fine print that might surprise drivers. Given how much the program has changed over the years, however, they could decide to change that policy in the future.