Tesla’s customer referral program is back weeks after it was killed off

Tesla killed off its customer referral program way back on February 1, 2019 because the popular program was getting too costly to maintain. But now, less than two months later, Tesla is bringing it back with new incentives aimed at rewarding its customers — and bringing in new ones.

Tesla’s customer referral program had offered a bevy of incentives, including six months of free charging at Supercharger stations, launching a chosen photo into deep space orbit, VIP invitations and even free Roadsters. The prizes, CEO Elon Musk said at the time, were beginning to add cost to its vehicles. In short: incentives to keep existing customers engaged and drive new sales were cutting into the company’s margins.

Tesla announced Thursday it would introduce a new referral program, a decision that was driven, in part, by customer feedback.

“While our previous Referral Program was very successful, it came with significant costs, and ending the program last year allowed us to pass those savings along to customers,” Tesla wrote in a blog post. “We’ve since restructured the program to save the company money while also offering rewards that are super exclusive.”

Under the new program, if a customer buys a new Tesla using a referral code, both the new and existing owners will receive 1,000 miles of free Supercharging.

Each referral also gives people a chance to win a Founder’s Series Model Y each month and a Founder’s series Roadster supercar quarterly, both signed by Elon Musk and Franz von Holzhausen, the company said.

The Model Y, which was revealed in earlier this month, is expected to come to market in fall 2020. Tesla owners who already have unlimited Supercharging get two chances to win with each referral.

The prizes are still big, but there are stricter rules. In a series of tweets Thursday, Musk said customers can only win each prize once, adding “intent over time is to enable those without a massive social media presence to win.”