Why Elon Musk Is Ending Tesla’s Customer Referral Program

January 17, 2019, 1:27 PM UTC

Happy Tesla (TSLA) customers will no longer be able to give five friends six months of free charging. Elon Musk tweeted Wednesday night that the customer referral program will end as of Feb. 1.

In the program, if a Tesla owner’s friends bought a new Model S, Model X or Model 3, the new buyers would be eligible for another three months of power-ups on Tesla’s Supercharge network. Tesla’s list of bonuses for owners includes perks like “launch your photo into deep space orbit” and “Founders Series Tesla Model S for kids.”

The latest iteration of Tesla’s referral program was supposed to run through March 11. Musk confirmed high costs were the reason for ending the customer referral bonuses:

Trying to improve the margins on the Model 3 comes a week after Tesla halted sales of its cheapest Model S sedans and Model X SUVs. Electrek says Tesla putting more vehicles on the streets every quarter puts a lot of stress on the Supercharger network, and that could be a reason for ending the referral program. (Back in September, Tesla discontinued its Supercharging for Life option.) But considering that Tesla has leaned on referrals rather than traditional advertising, a replacement referral program could be in the works.