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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.

tesla referral code

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:

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.

Electrek’s Take

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.

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California-based startup unveils 58 MPH electric jet ski on hydrofoils

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California-based startup unveils 58 MPH electric jet ski on hydrofoils

It’s an exciting time for personal watercraft enthusiasts that want to swap a roaring engine for the instantaneous (and silent) power of electric motors. The latest electric jet ski making a splash is the Valo Hyperfoil.

Technically speaking, it’s not actually a jet ski, nor is it making that much of a splash. “Jet Ski” is a brand name owned by Kawasaki, and the Valo Hyperfoil isn’t really making a splash because it’s actually flying above the waves on hydrofoils.

But whatever you call it and whichever hydro-based pun you shoehorn into an electric watercraft article, the Valo Hyperfoil is certainly an impressive machine.

Unveiled today by California-based startup Boundary Layer Technologies, the Valo Hyperfoil is one of the most advanced personal electric watercraft we’ve ever seen.

Not only is it quite powerful, packing in a 108 hp (80 kW) motor, but it can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots (58 mph or 93 km/h).

And it will do so while flying a full 2 feet (60 cm) above the surface of the water.

As founder and CEO of Boundary Layer Technologies Ed Kearny explained in a statement provided to Electrek:

“Valo will be a complete revolution to personal watercraft. The first Jetski was on the market 50 years ago this year, and it’s time for a major upgrade. Valo will be fast, agile, and tremendously exhilarating, all while being near silent and leaving zero wake. It will be like flying a stunt plane but on water. We see this a completely new form of water based mobility”

The secret to the flying nature of the Valo is its hydrofoils, which function like a set of airplane wings under water.

They lift the watercraft out of the dense water, helping it to save energy by flying through the air. That makes the ride smoother, faster and more efficient. It also means that the Valo can get by with fewer of those heavy and expensive batteries.

The company has spent the last four years developing hydrofoil technology for commercial purposes, such as passenger ferries and container ships. Now the company is hoping to apply that technology to the recreational market with a personal electric watercraft.

As Kearny continued:

“We are passionate about bringing foiling technology and its huge benefits to ships big and small. We simply shifted from ‘big first’, to ‘fast first’.  What we love about Valo is how fast we can get to market. We are bringing all the technology we were developing for massive container ships and ferries and using it to deliver one hell of a recreational product.”

Hydrofoiling boats have been made famous by the Swedish company Candela, who is already building and delivering electric speedboats with impressive hydrofoiling performance. The company is also working on passenger ferries and water taxis for commercial use, but hasn’t shown off a personal electric watercraft like the Valo.

Other companies like Taiga have leveraged their electric snowmobile technology to demonstrate personal electric watercraft. But their planing hulls will have a hard time matching the efficiency of hydrofoils like those displayed on the Valo.

Boundary Layer Technologies expects to have a small number of limited edition Founders Edition Valos by the summer of 2023 Full production vehicles aren’t expected to hit the water before 2024. The anticipated price for the production vehicles is $59,000, though we don’t yet know what price tag those first run Founders Edition vehicles will carry.

Until then, we can at least look at these pretty renders.

valo jet skit

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Quick Charge Podcast: November 30, 2022

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Quick Charge Podcast: November 30, 2022

Listen to a recap of the top stories of the day from Electrek. Quick Charge is available now on Apple PodcastsSpotifyTuneIn and our RSS feed for Overcast and other podcast players.

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):

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Drop us a line at tips@electrek.co. You can also rate us in Apple Podcasts or recommend us in Overcast to help more people discover the show!

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Hitachi Energy debuts wireless grid tech that prevents wildfires

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Hitachi Energy debuts wireless grid tech that prevents wildfires

Hitachi Energy just launched wireless Spark Prevention Unit indicators that help prevent wildfires by enabling remote monitoring.

According to the US Department of Energy, approximately 10% of wildfire ignitions are sparked by faults on electrical infrastructure or electric equipment failure. Hitachi Energy’s new Wireless SPU Indicators allow utilities to monitor the grid remotely, in real time, with automated visual inspection rounds.

The SPU monitors the current and thermal load of surge arresters – which protect equipment from surges in the power system – installed in wildfire risk areas.

If there’s a thermal overload in the grid, the SPU interrupts the current flow and disconnects the surge arrester, thus preventing any arcing – which is when a circuit becomes overloaded and overheats – sparking, or ejection of hot particles that could potentially start a wildfire.

Hitachi Energy’s new Wireless SPU Indicator

A visual indicator on the SPU lets the utility field crew know that it needs to be replaced. Hundreds of thousands of SPUs installed in some of the world’s most wildfire-prone areas, such as in the United States and Australia, have had a real impact in preventing wildfires. Being able to monitor them remotely is only going to improve wildfire prevention.

Read more: How the US can achieve resilient power grids and support EV deployment

Photo: Pok Rie on Pexels.com


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Michelle Lewis

Michelle Lewis is a writer and editor on Electrek and an editor on DroneDJ, 9to5Mac, and 9to5Google. She lives in White River Junction, Vermont. She has previously worked for Fast Company, the Guardian, News Deeply, Time, and others. Message Michelle on Twitter or at michelle@9to5mac.com. Check out her personal blog.


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