A recent support article posted on Tesla.com quietly reads, "After September 16, 2018, full unlimited Supercharging will go away..." The article goes on to state that, as of that date, "owners will be able to give friends one year (underlining added) of unlimited Supercharging."
This development essentially represents the end of an era in terms of Tesla's general marketing strategy - a strategy that has, by most accounts, been incredibly successful for both Tesla and for the promotion of Elon Musk's vision for sustainable transportation. While the free lifetime supercharging incentive has traditionally been provided only to people who purchased a Tesla using an existing Tesla customer's referral code, virtually all Model S and Model X buyers do in fact "use referral codes and therefore... access Supercharger stations for free" (Lambert, 2018).
The Tesla Model 3, with a base price of $35,000.00, was not initially eligible for free lifetime supercharging. This incentive has traditionally been made available only for the more expensive Model S and Model X vehicles. However, the free lifetime supercharging incentive was recently extended to the "performance" version of the Model 3 (Alvarez, 2018). Sadly, as with the Model S and X, this offer is only available until the September 15th deadline.
It is well worth noting that all Tesla vehicles, regardless of incentive eligibility, can charge on the ever-expanding Tesla charger network. However, Tesla's that do not qualify for free lifetime supercharging need to pay a fee. The fee differs from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on electricity rates and energy regulations, but, as a general rule of thumb, the charging fee is approximately half the price of gasoline for the equivalent number of miles driven.
A common question people have regarding the Tesla charging network is how exactly users are billed. People note the simplicity of the charging stations: no attendants, no card readers, no buttons to push. Just an open charging station that easily plugs into a Tesla's charging port. So how does it work? In fact, Tesla chargers recognize each and every Tesla vehicle as soon as it is plugged in. "Supercharging history is automatically populated in your Tesla Account showing the credits used or, if applicable, the amount billed" (Supercharging). It is important to understand that Tesla has repeatedly made it clear that they do not seek to earn a profit from their charging network, stating plainly that, "Tesla is committed to ensuring that Supercharger will never be a profit center" (Supercharging).
Tesla has pulled their free lifetime supercharging incentive before, but then reinstated it soon afterward (Loveday, 2017). Thus, not everybody is completely convinced that the incentive is gone for good. However, many do agree that the free lifetime supercharging incentive could not last forever, and, thus, the incentive may very well be going away for good this time.
While it is sad to see this era come to an end for new Tesla customers, the move does telegraph a shift in the scale of Tesla's sales and success. The company still seems to enjoy unwavering demand for its line of electric vehicles, and Tesla will probably continue to sell their Model S, Model X, and Model 3 vehicles to anxious and exhilarated customers who have come to accept extensive waiting periods before taking delivery of their long-anticipated vehicles. At the end of the day, this paints a picture of a company that simply cannot produce their products fast enough to meet their burgeoning demand, even when producing 7000 vehicles a week (Hanley, 2018). I suppose it would be trite to say that, as corporate problems go, this is a rather nice problem to have.
It's not too late:
In the final analysis, if you have been considering the purchase of a Tesla Model S, Model X, or a Performance Model 3, I would remind you that it is still not too late to get in on the free lifetime supercharging incentive. Until September 15th, you can still use an existing Tesla owner's referral code to lock in this highly compelling incentive.
Status Report on Limited Green Neighbour Incentive
All purchasers using the Green Neighbour referral code will lock in free supercharging for life on the Tesla charging network. In addition, purchasers will win the prize indicated below.
Alvarez, S. (August 1, 2018). Tesla offers Model 3 Performance buyers free unlimited Supercharging in latest referral program update. Teslarati. URL: www.teslarati.com/tesla-model-3-performance-free-unlimited-supercharging-referral-program/
Author Unknown (Accessed August 12, 2018). Referral Program. Tesla.com. URL: https://www.tesla.com/en_CA/support/referral-program
Author Unknown (Accessed August 12, 2018). Supercharging. Tesla.com. URL: https://www.tesla.com/en_CA/support/supercharging
Hanley, S, (July 1, 2018). Tesla Produces 7,000 Cars In 7 Days. CleanTechnica. URL: https://cleantechnica.com/2018/07/01/tesla-produces-7000-cars-in-7-days
Lambert, F. (July 18, 2018). Tesla extends free unlimited Supercharging for Model S and Model X with referral program. Electrek. URL: https://electrek.co/2018/07/16/tesla-free-supercharging-referral-program-extension/
Loveday, Eric. (June 23, 2017) Tesla’s Free Lifetime Supercharging Policy Gets New December 31, 2017 Deadline. Inside EV. URL: https://insideevs.com/teslas-free-lifetime-supercharging-policy-gets-new-december-31-2017-deadline