Tesla has been phasing out free unlimited access to its network of fast-chargers for a couple of years now. The last vestige of that program was a referral system that was supposed to expire at midnight Sunday. But it’s been given new life for at least one more day, and perhaps even longer to buyers in Europe.
On Monday, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced via Twitter that the referral program would be extended until Tuesday night after customers reported technical problems. The extension is just for new Model S, Model X and Model 3 Performance buyers who receive a referral from an existing owner.
Tesla began phasing out free unlimited access to its supercharger network when it announced that customers who buy cars after January 1, 2017 will have 400 kilowatt-hours, or about 1,000 miles, of free charging every year. Once owners surpassed that amount, they would be charged a small fee.
Tesla then narrowed the free unlimited access to superchargers through a referral program and only to buyers of performance versions of the Model S, Model X and Model 3. The free unlimited supercharger referral program is now set to end September 18.
However, it’s possible that Musk will extend the program to customers outside of North America. A Twitter follower of Musk’s wrote “It would be great if day 1 international reservations of the Model 3 performance could get a shot at this, though.” Musk said the company would see what it could do, before noting that the program needed to be brought to an end because it’s not sustainable long term.
Ending the free supercharging for life is the latest move by Tesla to cut costs and ultimately become a profitable company. The company recently removed two of its seven possible paint options to “simplify manufacturing,” Musk said in a tweet last week.
That path to profitability also requires more people to buy Tesla vehicles.
The company has sent emails in the past week to people who have reservations for the Model 3 offering small incentives in an effort to boost sales. For example, Tesla wrote in an email September 12 that Model 3 orders placed before the 14th in metallic silver or obsidian black metallic would be produced on an expedited basis. Another email sent out September 8 advertised that a limited number of Model 3 rear-wheel drive vehicles on display are available for immediate delivery.