10 Ways to Save on Tesla Model S / Model X

  1. Tesla is offering current owners a referral link that saves the new buyer/friend $1000 off for their new/inventory Model S/X to encourage word-of-mouth sales.  Elon did a referral program like this in the early days of PayPal.  This deal expires so get the shop credit now as Tesla doesn’t bargain off MSRP.  It takes weeks or months for Tesla to build your car depending on your location and options ordered so act NOW before it expires Jan. 15, 2017.  Please use this link to get to my referral page on the Tesla site and order your car. Full details on the program here.
  2. Don’t pay for certain accessories that can be found cheaper after you buy your Tesla. I wanted the 2% more efficient turbine rims that you see below as opposed to the stock ones, but didn’t want to pay the $2.5K upgrade price so I bought the upgraded turbine rims here and sold the old ones online for $1000 for a net cost of half what Tesla wanted.  There are aftermarket spoilers available for less elsewhere too so don’t pay the Tesla retail rate!  Here is an exhaustive list of modifications you can make to your Model S or X.  Also, used items are sold on eBay, TMC forums or Panjo.
  3. In the US, be sure to factor in your Federal and State tax incentives listed here. In Colorado, for example, you get $7500 from the Feds and $6000 from the state with no alternative minimum tax (AMT) issue!
  4. The official Tesla forums are your friend, but don’t overlook the unsanctioned forums at Tesla Motors Club to get the scoop on everything and helpful advice from other fans.  My handle is @Reeler on both forums.  There is great information on the Teslarati or ElecTrek blogs too.
  5. Depending on the year, the IRS in the US will give credit against your wall charger purchase and install costs.  Confirm with your tax accountant as this benefit is subject to AMT so I didn’t qualify, but you might.
  6. Free Supercharging is available in most cities now if you buy this year and take delivery before the end of the 2Q2017. One owner takes her Model S  to the mall 5 miles from our house once a week and saves about $10 on each fill. Free fueling!  Tesla frowns on use of the SCs except for road trips so expect to be warned if you use this benefit too much.  In Canada, there are very few SCs so they can only envy those that have one nearby.
  7. Don’t buy a used Tesla.  After going through the math on discounts and tax breaks, you will find that new Teslas are cheaper than the used prices in most cases.  You want to have the choice of options, longer warranty and recent improvements anyway.  Tesla has a certified pre-owned (CPO) site with inventory if you want to double-check.  Remember, CPO cars do not qualify for the $1,000 referral discount.
  8. If you still need to save more money, consider getting the 60KWh battery without the dual AWD motors, which takes $18K out of the initial price.  There is no need for dual motors unless you drive in ice/snow so save that money.  After driving electric for several years, range anxiety quickly disappeared with experience.
  9. Bonus Tip: After you configure your order, but before you confirm it, a Tesla rep will offer to help you by phone or e-mail.  Call that person and see if there is a built model sitting in inventory somewhere.  Tesla will bargain a little on these cars and move it to your location.  I have heard folks saving $1K-25K for Teslas in inventory or recently orphaned.  It is called a “Showroom Discount” and is available on demos or any other car that hasn’t been sold before (i.e., CPO), and you still get your $1000 referral credit and tax breaks!  Better discounts are common near the end of the quarter.  The more expensive the car, the better the discounts.
  10. Obscure Tip: If you rent out your place on Airbnb or someone in the building does, you can apply for a free destination charger made available to guests. Once you get an estimate for the install of the 50 Amp circuit, Tesla will send a free Wall Connector ($750 value). It only took days from my request to get approved. 
  11. Rare Tip: Rumors are swirling that the Delivery Specialists (DS) can waive the $1200 delivery charge for a certain number of buyers each week.  Your best bet is to go to a Tesla store or call your DS before you confirm your online order saying you plan to cancel if there isn’t a way to save . . . You might get them to waive the delivery charge.  After 3Q2016, this seems to no longer be working–full price unless you buy an inventory model.
  12. Hurry: Tesla is rumored to be raising the base price of the Model S on 11/22/2016.  Placing your order prior to that date will get you the current price.  Delivery is running toward the end of the year so ordering now will get your tax break in this year’s tax filing.  Also, there is unlimited supercharging for cars ordered this year and delivered before 2Q2017.  Models with AP 2.0 and unlimited supercharging will be able to drive the car cross-country for free at your whim!

Q: You missed something?

A: Please let me know and I will add it to the above list.

 Q: Will Tesla ever offer $1000 off again after the program expires?

A: Who knows.  Hard to predict, but bookmark this page as I will offer similar deals going forward so long as Tesla does another one of these programs.

Q: If I have questions, can I contact you before I order?

A: Absolutely.  My name is Thomas Franklin contact by e-mail to tesla@realure.com.  I live in Denver, Colorado and am happy to answer any questions you might have.

Q: Tell me a little more about yourself?
A: I have owned almost 10 different electric cars and have not driven an internal combustion engine (ICE) car in 6 years except where it was a classic car.  I have helped dozens of owners through their purchase and am happy to help you too.
Q: I am not sure if I did everything right to qualify for the Tesla $1,000 credit offer?
A: Click this link to get a referral landing page in a new browser tab that will say “thomas8147” at the bottom.  You will see the “$1,000 credit” landing page in the first photo below with your friend’s name on it if you did this correctly.  If you already blew it and configured your order, just call your Tesla rep and give them the link so that they can fix it. 
Referral Landing Page
Q: How can I be sure that my friend hasn’t reached their limit of referrals and I qualify for my discount?
A: When you are configuring your car, switch to the “Cash” tab and the “print spec sheet” link produces a PDF with details on the option prices and you should see “Referral . . . ($1,000)”.  If that is missing, e-mail me for another referral link if you find thomas8147 no longer works.
Referral Shown
Q: Do I have to contact the referring friend before I use the referral link and place my Model S or Model X order?
A: No.  There have been reports that Tesla may vet that your friend motivated your purchase so try to find a current owner for their link.

Q: Can Tesla refuse to give me my $1000 referral discount?
A: Yes.  Their terms are nebulous and appear to be withholding discounts in some circumstances.  Just make it clear that your “friend” and motivated your purchase personally and there will be no problems. 

Q: What if I already configured my car without using a referral link?

A: Reach out to the Tesla-assigned Ownership Advisor or Delivery Specialist assigned to you and ask them to add the referral code (i.e., thomas8147) to your order.  Several have done this after putting down their deposit so it should work.  But, “Referral credits may not be applied retroactively once a deposit has become non-refundable.” Moral of the story, you don’t have to do it initially, but your DS does have to manually enter referral code prior to accepting the terms an finalizing your order for production.

Q: Does the $1000 promotion work with a lease or buying an in-stock car in inventory?

A: Yes.  When you configure your car, you can ask your Tesla rep if there is a similar previously-unsold car available now.  They will even bargain a little on these, maybe $2000-6000 off depending on location and amount of options.  Leases qualify too.  But, used CPO Teslas do not qualify for the discount or tax breaks.

Q: I am not in the United States, what discount will I get?
A: In your currency it is about $1000 US dollars, but that is just an approximation.  Look at your itemized purchase invoice and it will show your exact referral discount.  My referral code will work world wide, just the amount is localized by Tesla.

Q: When does this expire?

A: You must order your car by 1/15/2017 to qualify.  If you make the $2,500 deposit prior to that date you are on track for the discount.  Should you fail to confirm the order for production it will be lost after that date.

Q: Why buy a Model S or X when the Model 3 is just around the corner?
A: Tesla will run out of Federal tax rebates for your car by the time any Model 3 comes your way.  Plus, the Model 3 will be buggy for quite some time after that.  With all the savings in this Wiki, I can get a Model S for about $50K, which is a better deal then an entry level Model 3 at $35K in my opinion.  Plus, your Model 3 reservation gets moved ahead of all non-owners if you want to buy one of those too.