In 2019, I suggested to Elon Musk that referrals should unlock FSD, today, four years, and 3 months later, it has finally happened!
At the time I suggested it when faced with the desire for Full Self Driving, but not the budget which at the time was $8,500 on top of stretching financially to get the Model 3 Performance. Since then the number has risen to A$10,100 in Australia.
This gave me the idea to ask for an FSD unlock if I reached 10 referrals. I loosely calculated that this had generated a million dollars in revenue, so by comparison, even the retail price of FSD seemed like a fair trade.
In reality, FSD doesn’t cost anywhere close to that for Tesla even with significant investment into the compute hardware Dojo and Nvidia H100 chips required to train driving models for FSD and FSD Beta.
At the time I thought 9 referrals were impressive, but have since gone on to refer more than 130 people to Tesla vehicles.
My proposal was met with a simple reply from Elon, just two words ‘will consider’.
Having heard nothing since this reply, I imagined the answer was a no and until today, that was the case.
Over the years Tesla’s referral program has been through multiple iterations and most recently moved to a referral credit system.
If you share your referral link and someone uses that link to be redirected to Tesla.com and ends up purchasing a vehicle, you’ll have a successful referral for which you’ll get an email confirmation from Tesla, and another when the owner takes delivery to inform you the credits are in your account.
These credits can be spent on a subset of Tesla merchandise, vehicles and charging accessories from the Store. Tesla credits can also be exchanged for digital goods as well like Premium Connectivity, or free Supercharging.
While all these are great options, none of them compare to the change to functionality available from both Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving software upgrades.
As it stands today, this is only available in the United States, but given the credit system is available in many markets, I don’t know why Tesla wouldn’t offer this everywhere EAP/FSD is available, even if FSD Beta hasn’t yet made its way to consumers outside the US and Canada.
Buying FSD in the US can be done in two ways, outright for US$12,000 (~A$18,939) or purchasing it via a subscription for US$199 per month (A$307).
With today’s new option to acquire FSD using referral credits, there’s now a third option that won’t come easy but is possible. You can trade 120,000 credits for the FSD package or 55,000 credits for Enhanced Autopilot.
Each referral you achieve is 10,000 credits. This means you’d need 120 vehicle referrals to unlock FSD, or alternatively refer friends for test drives which earn you 100 credits at a time.
Having saved hard and knowing the price of FSD was going to increase, I did buy FSD for my Model 3, however, we only got EAP on my wife’s Model Y, so I’d love to see an option that Tesla offered a referral unlock to upgrade from EAP to FSD, a software upgrade that currently costs A$5,000 the delta in pricing between the two packages.
There’s no doubt about it, for most people, 12 referrals (slightly above my original request of 10) will be a big hill to climb, it is certainly possible if you put in the work and really make an effort.
There is also a 12-referral and 60 test-drive limit per year currently, so this would consume a year of referral opportunity, but I think most would agree that’d be worth it.
I’d also love to see the ability for you to exchange 1,000 credits to reduce the FSD cost by $1,000. This would allow someone who could get to 5,000 or 6,000 credits, to halve the cost of the FSD upgrade.
Having said all that, it’s time to share my referral link – https://ts.la/jason45054 If you’ve found this article and other EV-related articles helpful, consider using this to save yourself $750 off the vehicle and try EAP free for 3 months, while I would get 10,000 credits.
Every Tesla owner receives their own referral link and can then share it with their friends, family and networks which ultimately helps Tesla achieve its mission of seeing more people transition to EVs and sustainable transport under the broader context of a transition to sustainable energy.