Tesla has revamped its referral program in North America, shifting to a system allowing current Tesla owners to use their Tesla referral code to earn “loyalty points” that can be spent on various Tesla products.
The newest iteration referral program gives “credits” to both the buyer and referrer of a product, with a scaling amount of credits depending on the product purchased. The credits are only given to both buyer and referrer if the buyer is not a current Tesla customer – if they are a current customer, then they will earn their own “loyalty credits” but won’t be able to use a referral code.
Tesla’s referral program page lays out the specifics, with further information available in the Tesla app’s “loot box” section.
So far, the only products that qualify for credits are Tesla solar panels and the Tesla solar roof, both of which give 6,000 credits each.
The page does say “earn credits upon delivery of your car or activation of your solar system,” which suggests that cars may be added to the page at some point. We’re not sure how many credits they will generate if they do get added to the program. While Tesla’s referral program was ended last year for cars, cash rewards for solar referrals continued and were active up until yesterday, when Tesla revamped the program to give out credits instead of cash.
Those credits can then be spent on other Tesla products, though they expire after 12 months if not spent. The products are a selection from those on Tesla’s online shop, including both useful accessories for Tesla owners and some of the more “meme” products like Tesla’s short shorts or bizarre sipping glasses.
Here’s a complete list of products available:
- Wall Connector – 6,000 credits / J1772 Wall Connector – 11,000 credits
- Tesla CCS Combo 1 Adapter – 5,000 credits
- 2,000 Supercharger Miles – 4,800 credits
- Model X/3/S/Y Pet Liner – 2,900 credits
- Tesla Sipping Glasses – 1,750 credits
- Tesla Short Shorts – 1,469 credits
- Hoodie – 2,000 credits
- License plate frame – 800 credits
- Wall connector faceplate – 1,500 credits
- Various T-shirts – 700 credits each
The prices don’t seem to map proportionally to the prices of the real-life items (for example, the Wall Connector is $400, and J1772 Wall Connector is $550), but it looks like the value of a single solar roof referral is about the same as it was in the previous version of the program – in the range of a few hundred dollars.
We’ve expected something to happen with the referral program for a little while now, reporting last year that Tesla was considering changes to the program and then finding out last month that Tesla had updated the mobile app with new referral program info.
Last month, Tesla launched a new “points rewards” program in China, which turns out to be very similar to these new changes to the referral program. China also gets quarterly and annual raffles, which seem to be missing from the North American program. And Europe does not seem to have a similar referral program update as of this moment.
Tesla originally spawned the referral program after requests from Tesla fans who wanted to be rewarded for the number of friends they had converted to driving electric. In the early days of Tesla and EVs, word of mouth from EV fans was very effective at selling cars, particularly given the number of questions that prospective buyers might have about a new technology.
The referral program started off with $1,000 in “Tesla credits” for each use of an owner’s Tesla referral code. Those credits could be used on service and Tesla products, and then later Tesla started to offer various prizes like wall connectors, wheel sets, Tesla-branded luggage, and even sending your photos into space. It was modified many times, but eventually got a little out of control and Tesla killed off the program after they ended up promising over 80 next-gen Roadsters to top referrers.
The program was then scaled back to offer 1,000 free Supercharger miles to buyers and referrers, and most recently only consisted of a cash reward for solar roof referrals.
As of now, it looks like Tesla has mostly just modified the existing program of cash rewards for solar installations, but it’s clear that they have more planned given the “car” verbiage on their referral pages.
This is interesting timing, considering Tesla has recently drastically scaled back its solar operation. We’ve received several reports of projects being cancelled and Tesla claiming they are shutting down operations, even in some popular markets, just in the last few weeks. So it seems like an odd time to revamp a system for solar referrals.
But this isn’t just about solar, is it? It seems clear that the program is intended to include cars at some point; they’re just not on there yet.
The introduction of the referral program in China coincided with a price drop in the region, suggesting that Tesla was looking to shore up demand after a few years of continual price hikes across the lineup and around the globe.
While we haven’t seen a price drop in the US (and don’t necessarily expect one), this could still be a way that Tesla is prepping to shore up demand on certain products, by adding them to the referral program when or if they see a need.
As for how we feel about it – this does seem a little more robust than the previous programs. Instead of a maze of ever-changing prize tiers, some of which were worth large amounts and took forever to deliver and some of which never materialized, we now have a clearer list of readily available products that have some monetary value but not enough to make referrers feel like total shills when recommending Tesla vehicles.
One of the issues with the original program, in my mind, was that it turned previously innocent EV evangelism into a method for personal profit, thus making it seem that word-of-mouth advocacy was being done for monetary gain, rather than honest recommendations from EV fans. It threatened to make EV fans seem like commissioned car salesman rather than genuine and honest advocates.
Now, there’s still a sense of monetary gain here, but it’s more like a perk – a few T-shirts, some supercharger miles, or a spare charging connector for each use of a referral code. It’s not as overwhelming as the idea that someone could earn a several thousand dollar Powerwall system or potentially even a supercar after hawking a Tesla to their friends.
So it seems like an improvement, but we’ll have to wait to see how it all shakes out, and whether Tesla adds other products to the program.
Quick Charge Podcast: November 29, 2023
New episodes of Quick Charge are recorded Monday through Thursday and again on Saturday. Subscribe to our podcast in Apple Podcast or your favorite podcast player to guarantee new episodes are delivered as soon as they’re available.
Stories we discuss in this episode (with links):
Listen & Subscribe:
Share your thoughts!
Drop us a line at email@example.com. You can also rate us in Apple Podcasts or recommend us in Overcast to help more people discover the show!
UAW launches campaign to unionize all automakers at once – Tesla, Toyota, etc
The UAW has launched an unprecedented campaign to unionize the entire US auto sector at once, with thousands of auto workers at 13 companies announcing simultaneous unionization campaigns.
After UAW’s big strike win, winning 25%+ pay increases at the “Big Three” American automakers after a simultaneous strike at GM, Ford and Stellantis, the union is looking to maintain that momentum and go bigger.
Immediately after declaring victory, UAW President Shawn Fain said that in the next negotiation in 2028, UAW wants to come back to the bargaining table to negotiate not just with the Big Three, but with “a Big Five or a Big Six” – implying that the union planned to expand to other automakers. And President Biden said that he would support a UAW push to unionize Tesla and Toyota.
Now we’ve seen an official announcement that UAW isn’t just looking to unionize two or three more automakers, but all of them at once. Typically, unionization campaigns focus on a single company at a time, but here UAW is targeting a whole sector with simultaneous campaigns at each individual company. This seems like a tall order, but UAW’s triple-strike against the Big Three seemed to work out well, so it’s now applying that simultaneous tactic to organizing new union drives.
In service of its goal, UAW launched a new website at uaw.org/join, asking workers at each company to sign their union card. The website mentions several automakers by name, and has links to individual campaigns for each automaker where workers can go to express their interest in unionizing:
The campaign was accompanies by a video narrated by Fain making his union pitch. In short, UAW says that automakers and investors are making record profits, but that worker compensation has not kept up. The video specifically mentions Tesla and Rivian’s recent quarterly results, and also states that the Japanese/Korean automakers have combined to make $470 billion in profits, and the German automakers have made an additional $460 billion, in the last ten years.
Since the UAW’s big wins, other automakers have moved to increase pay to (partially) keep up with pay increases at the Big Three. VW, Hyundai, Toyota and Honda have all announced hikes in pay, showing how union wins can buoy an entire industry by making automakers compete for workers with higher pay.
But UAW doesn’t want to stop at a few voluntary pay hikes from other companies, it thinks that unionizing those companies can give workers a better deal. One worker at Toyota’s Georgetown, Kentucky plant put it thusly:
We’ve lost so much since I started here, and the raise won’t make up for that. It won’t make up for the health benefits we’ve lost, it won’t make up for the wear and tear on our bodies. We still build a quality vehicle. People take pride in that, but morale is at an all-time low. They can give you a raise today and jack up your health benefits tomorrow. A union contract is the only way to win what’s fair.
Jeff Allen, 29-year Toyota assembly worker
UAW also quoted workers at Hyundai, VW, Mercedes and Rivian in its release, focusing on how they think unionization would improve safety and benefits at these automakers.
Unions are having a bit of a moment in the US, reaching their highest popularity ever since surveys started asking about them.
Much of union popularity has been driven by COVID-related disruptions across the economy, with workers becoming unsatisfied due to mistreatment (labeling everyone “essential,” companies ending work-from-home) and with the labor market getting tighter with over 1 million Americans dead from the virus and another 2-4 million (and counting) out of work due to long COVID.
Unions have seized on this dissatisfaction to build momentum in the labor movement, with successful strikes across many industries and organizers starting to organize workforces that had previously been nonunion.
But union membership has been down over several decades in the US, and as a result, pay hasn’t kept pace with worker productivity and income distribution has become more unequal over time. It’s really not hard to see this influence when you plot these trends against each other.
It’s quite clear that lower union membership has resulted in lower inflation-adjusted compensation for workers, even as productivity has skyrocketed. As workers have produced more and more value for their companies, those earnings have gone more and more to their bosses rather than to the workers who produce that value. And it all began in the 80s, around the time of Reagan – a timeline that should be familiar to those who study social ills in America.
All of this isn’t just true in the US but also internationally. If you look at other countries with high levels of labor organization, they tend to have more fair wealth distribution across the economy and more ability for workers to get their fair share.
We’re seeing this in Sweden right now, as Tesla workers are striking for better conditions. Since Sweden has 90% collective bargaining coverage, it tends to have a happy and well-paid workforce, and it seems clear that these two things are correlated. And while that strike is continuing, meaning we haven’t yet seen the end of it, most observers think that the workers will eventually get what they want since collective bargaining is so strong in that country.
These are all reasons why, as I’ve mentioned in many of these UAW-related articles, I’m pro-union. And I think everyone should be – it only makes sense that people should have their interests collectively represented and that people should be able to join together to support each other and exercise their power collectively instead of individually.
This is precisely what companies do with industry organizations, lobby organizations, chambers of commerce, and so on. And it’s what people do when sorting themselves into local, state, or national governments. So naturally, workers should do the same. It’s just fair.
Rivian R1T could add a projector for movies on the go
The Rivian R1T might get an exciting upgrade. The electric pickup can drive through 3+ feet of water, rock crawl a 100% grade, and take off like a sports car. But what if the Rivian R1T had a mobile projector that could be easily stored in the gear tunnel? That’s what Rivian is scheming up.
Rivian files patent for R1T mobile movie projector
Rivian’s R1T electric truck is the ultimate adventure vehicle. It recently made history as the first EV to win the off-road Rebelle rally, the longest of its kind in the US.
The truck continues improving through OTA updates that add fun new features, range, and more. One of its most recent improved the ride quality of its vehicles. By building its cars from the ground up, Rivian has a major advantage.
Like Tesla, the EV maker focused on software and “having the ability to configure every piece of hardware,” according to Wassym Bensaid, Rivian’s VP of software development.
Rivian can use this advantage to create unique products that integrate into its EVs. One of its most recent ideas is a mobile projector.
According to a new patent filing for a “vehicle entertainment apparatus,” the Rivian R1T could soon see an added movie projector.
The patent, filed November 23, details a kit that can include a projector, screen, and at least one speaker. The kit is attached to a shuttle that slides in and out of the gear tunnel for easy storage.
Once extended, the projector can be rotated into position. It will also include a mirror to reflect the projected light onto the screen without harming quality. Meanwhile, the pole to hold the screen will fit into several spots.
The setup enables a mobile entertainment setup in little to no time. Everything can be stored in the gear tunnel while not in use. When ready, it can just slide out and set up.
Rivian is including everything needed for the ultimate movie night on the go. And the best part – everything is powered by the R1T.
Although a movie projector may seem like a wild idea to some, that’s right up Rivian’s alley. The company has developed several add-on options like a three-person tent and the Camp Kitchen.
Many were dissapointed when Rivian discontinued the Camp Kitchen from its gear shop earlier this year. The $5,000 add-on included a pull-out kitchen complete with two induction cooktops, a water tank, collapsable sink, and more.
Rivian CEO RJ Scaringe said on the MKBHD podcast that the idea was more popular than expected. However, Rivian is redesigning it for something that doesn’t take up the entire gear tunnel.
Maybe a Rivian R1T movie projector isn’t that far off after all. Meanwhile, Rivian will likely offer a redesigned camp kitchen first.
Would you consider buying Rivian’s movie projector add-on? Let us know what you think in the comments.
Sports1 year ago
‘Storybook stuff’: Inside the night Bryce Harper sent the Phillies to the World Series
Sports8 months ago
MLB Rank 2023: Ranking baseball’s top 100 players
Environment6 months ago
Japan and South Korea have a lot at stake in a free and open South China Sea
Sports2 years ago
Team Europe easily wins 4th straight Laver Cup
Environment9 months ago
Game-changing Lectric XPedition launched as affordable electric cargo bike
Technology2 years ago
Game consoles were once banned in China. Now Chinese developers want a slice of the $49 billion pie
Politics2 years ago
Have the last few wobbly weeks seen a turning point for Johnson as PM?
Business1 year ago
Bank of England’s extraordinary response to government policy is almost unthinkable | Ed Conway