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After Snatching Away the Perk, Tesla Returns Free Charging to Certain Owners

Tesla Supercharger

Chatty Tesla owners who compel their friends and family to consider buying a Model S or X are apparently behind the company’s U-Turn on paid Supercharger use.

At the beginning of the year, Tesla, in a bid to fund a doubling of its fast-charge network, withdrew a big perk from the purchase of one of its vehicles: free Supercharger use. No longer would new buyers be able to sail off in their new Tesla, confident in their ability to juice up at one of the 750-plus stations scattered across North America. Owners who purchased their vehicle prior to January 1st were grandfathered.

Supercharger hogs were also slapped with an “idling” fee, all in the hopes of freeing up space at the stations. While the pricing structure remains — new buyers receive 400 kWh of annual free charging with their purchase, after which a variable fee applies — there’s now a way to get unlimited free power.

According to Electrek, Tesla has revealed an incentive hidden within its updated referral program. In an email, the automaker explained that customers said “free, unlimited Supercharging was one of their favorite reasons to refer a friend to buy a Tesla,” which is why the feature was partially revived.

“Beginning [May 20th], existing owners can give free, unlimited Supercharging to up to five friends by sharing their referral code, and all existing Tesla owners who purchase a new Model S or Model X will receive free, unlimited Supercharging too,” the company wrote.

That’s not the only change to the program. Tesla has retroactively granted free Supercharger use to owners who purchased between January 1st and the announcement of the referral incentive. This means the upcoming Model 3, due for deliveries at the end of the year, remains mostly a pay-to-use proposition.

That is, unless you have friends in green places. In this case, knowing someone who already owns a Model S or X bought before the announcement, (or bought a second one sometime after), is the only way to go above 400 kWh of free juice a year. Otherwise, you’re stuck using your own money to propel a vehicle you bought to save the planet. Ugh.

[Image: Tesla]

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