Up until this year, Tesla provided a handy perk for owners: they could charge their vehicles up at any of the company’s Supercharger stations for free. Last year, Tesla announced that it would phase the program out in favor of a modest pricing scheme for owners after January 1st. On Friday, Tesla said that new users still have a way to get free charging: get another driver to give you a referral code.
Starting on Friday, “existing owners can give free, unlimited Supercharging to up to five friends by sharing their referral code,” according to a Tesla spokesperson. Current owners who decide to purchase a new vehicle will continue to receive free Supercharging as well.
Previously, drivers had to have purchased a car by January 1st and taken delivery of the vehicle by April 1st in order to qualify for the free charging. The company extended that deadline slightly in January, but for new owners that missed the cutoff and purchased a car before the introduction of the referral program, Tesla will extend free charging for them, as though they received a referral from another driver. Existing drivers who already own a Tesla will continue to receive free charging, even if they purchase a new.
Moving forward, drivers without a referral code be able to use 400 kWh of power for free per year, and will pay $.40 for each minute spent at one of the stations after charging is complete. The company made the shift after drivers began to complain that the stations were becoming increasingly congested, with drivers parking their vehicles at them for hours at a time. As the company works to ramp up production this year, it’s also planning to expand its infrastructure of charging stations around the country.