Is Tesla’s Secret Demand “Weapon” This Referral Program?

Months ago, Elon Musk reiterated that Tesla was still production limited, not demand limited. However, he also noted that Tesla might need to stimulate demand for the Model S by the end of the year. If so, he had an idea (a “secret weapon”) that would both do that and stick it to the stupid, greedy dealerships working to keep or kick Tesla out of their states.


Pop-up Tesla storespopped up a couple of months ago, and there was some speculation that they might be the secret weapon, but it never seemed to really connect. Now, Tesla has announced a referral program, and I think this is very likely what Elon was… referring to. (Tip of the hat to TeslaMondo.)

Here’s how the program works: “Anyone who orders a new Model S before October 31st using the referral link of a current owner will get $1,000 off the purchase price. In return, the current owner will get a $1,000 discount that can be applied to a new car, service center visit or accessory. Referral discounts are limited to ten and are awarded on a first to purchase basis. New orders must be placed prior to October 31, 2015.”

Clearly, Tesla is trying to speed up some purchases, and given the timing, I have to wonder if Tesla isn’t afraid of the Model X cannibalizing Model S sales… or at least taking a chunk out of them.

Oh, but the referral program incentives go on: “In addition, those who make five referrals will receive an invitation for them and a guest to attend the Gigafactory grand opening party. Those who make ten referrals will get the right to purchase a fully loaded Founder Series Model X, which is not available to the public, for the price of a base-level Model X—roughly a $25,000 saving. The first person to make ten referrals will get a fully loaded Model X for free.”

Holy shit!! How I wish I were a Model S owner and could convince 10 of you to essentially buy me a new Model X.

More details can be found on the Tesla site.

The question I have is, how much more can Tesla owners sell their cars to non-Tesla owners? They’re already eager as heck to do so. As TeslaMondo notes, “Well, one thing is for sure: Surveys suggest Tesla owners like to proselytize*. When a survey arrives, they don’t ignore it. Surely they radiate enthusiasm with friends/family/coworkers too. Now they can get paid for their enthusiasm.”

Seriously. There are more Tesla fanbois and fangurls out there than internet trolls, and that’s a hard crowd to outnumber!

I know we have a lot of Tesla owners here on Important Media (Gas2, CleanTechnica, and EV Obsession, especially). Best of luck winning one of those sweet prizes!

Image by Marika Shahan | CleanTechnica | EV Obsession (CC BY-SA 4.0)

Zachary Shahan

is the director of CleanTechnica, the most popular cleantech-focused website in the world, and Planetsave, a world-leading green and science news site. He has been covering green news of various sorts since 2008, and he has been especially focused on solar energy, electric vehicles, and wind energy since 2009. Aside from his work on CleanTechnica and Planetsave, he's the founder and director of Solar Love, EV Obsession, and Bikocity. To connect with Zach on some of your favorite social networks, go to and click on the relevant buttons.