Lots of company’s offer affiliate programs where customers who help sell product for the company are rewarded. Overnight Elon Musk announced on Twitter, that Tesla would be ending their referral program effective from February 1st, 2019.
While Tesla has sold their Model S and X in Australia for a few years, the numbers remain relatively low. The Model 3 which is due out here in the second half of 2019, means that the majority of Aussies will never be able to take advantage of the referral program.
The referral program is important as those influencers who are able to convert many sales (attributed via a referral code) have been incredibly successful in doing so.
Electrek has a great post that breaks down the numbers of referrals, this includes people (mostly YouTubers) that have achieved enough referrals (105) that they are eligible for a Tesla Roadster. Given each Roadster (due in 2020) , with an estimated price tag of around US$250,000 (around A$348,000), it’s easy to see how this program got out of control.
When questioned about the end of the referral program, Musk explained that the price of the referral giveaways added too much to the cost of their sales, especially the Model 3.
It does seem strange that the potential amount given away wasn’t less than the profit margin of each vehicle. If it was, then Tesla wouldn’t care how many people referred others to buy their vehicle.
The referral program wasn’t the only thing to get the cut, with free supercharging also getting the axe. With Tesla’s aggressive Supercharger rollout across the globe and a huge variance in power prices around the globe, this one is easier to understand.
Given Tesla has all the assets required to create renewable power (solar + batteries connected to chargers, it does seems strange that the standard installation of a Supercharger bank, doesn’t include a solar and Powerpack array to make recharging cost neutral.
I remember when I first reviewed the Model S, that the free, unlimited supercharging for the life of the vehicle was one of the greatest attributes to justify the premium price tag. Now that’s gone, the cost of recharging remains a few dollars versus $50-60 per tank of petrol, so the EVs definitely still maintain an advantage, it’s just not quite as sweet as it once was.