12 Ways to Save on Tesla Model S / Model X

  1. Tesla is offering current owners a referral link that saves their friend $1000 off for their new/inventory Model S/X to encourage word-of-mouth sales plus you get lifetime unlimited free supercharging.  Elon did a referral program like this in the early days of PayPal to make it take off.  This deal expires soon so get the discount 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 December 31, 2017.  Please ask an owner-friend for a link (e.g., http://ts.la/thomas106) with their referral code (e.g., Thomas106).  If you are not buying online give your Delivery Specialist (DS) or Ownership Advisor (OA) the referral code and make sure it is properly recorded in Tesla’s system.  E-mail me if you have any questions about your purchase or otherwise.
  2. Don’t pay for certain accessories that can be found cheaper after you buy your Tesla. I wanted the optional 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 so buy a used version of the same thing.
  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 $5000 from the state with no alternative minimum tax (AMT) issue!  California and NY have state rebates as do some cities and power utilities.
  4. The official Tesla forums are your friend and can be searched here, 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 blog sites 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 and is unlimited with use of my referral code. Even if you are not going cross-country, drop in for your free charge to save on electricity.  Each fill-up saves you about $10-20 so this is a huge perk.
  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.  Search for inventory models here, which are never sold units that may have been demos or just excess production.  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 or other tax rebates.
  8. If you still need to save more money, consider getting the smaller 75KWh battery without the dual AWD motors, which takes $25K 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 and 200 miles range is plenty good enough even with the occasional cross-country trip.
  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 an already-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” on an “inventory” model and is available on demos or any other car that hasn’t been sold before (i.e., CPO), and you still get your $1K referral credit and tax breaks!  Better discounts are common near the end of the quarter or with older configurations.  The more expensive the car, the better the discounts become.
  10. Consider the avoiding the full-self driving (FSD) option at purchase as it is not working yet.  Wait for it to get debugged and regulatory approval and upgrade then.  
  11. Free Wall Connector for AirBnB: 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.
  12. Free Destination Chargers for Businesses: Commercial sites can apply for two free destination charges and Tesla will supply two Wall Connectors that can work from a single circuit and not overload things when two cars are charging.  In some circumstances, they will even install chargers for non-Tesla vehicles as part of a package.  Apply here.

FAQ:
Q: You missed something?

A: Please let me know and I will add it to the above list so that others might be able to afford a Tesla too.

Q: Does Tesla vet the referrer?

A: Yes.  If they ask, make sure you say your FRIEND motivated your purchase.  Use the link from your friend (e.g., ts.la/thomas106) or manually give their discount code (e.g., thomas106) to your rep at Tesla.  A random link from a random person you don’t know could be declined so don’t make that mistake!  Also, always confirm that they recorded the referral code into their system with your delivery specialist by e-mail or voice as Tesla’s system is notoriously flakey.

Q: Will Tesla ever offer $1,000 off again after the program expires?

A: Who knows, but more than likely until the Model 3 arrives at least.  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.  Please contact by E-mail if you have any questions before purchase.  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 over 10 different electric cars over the years and have not driven an internal combustion engine (ICE) car in 8 years except where it was an antique going to a car show.  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 and will get the free unlimited supercharging?
A: Use your friend’s link (e.g., ts.la/thomas106) by copying into your browser to get a referral landing page that will ask for your e-mail at the bottom.   You will see the “Unlimited Supercharging and $1,000 credit” landing page in the first photo below.  Once you enter the e-mail address you will get to a second page that shows the Unique Referral Code of your friend.  If you already blew it and configured your order, just call your Tesla rep and give them the referral code so that they can fix it manually.  In any event, you should reiterate your referral code (e.g., Thomas106) to your OA or DS so they can manually confirm it to be sure you get the discount.
Capture
 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: Once you click through to a Model X or S configuration, there will be a message saying the owner’s link has reached its limit.  Plus when you are configuring your car, switch to the “Cash” tab and “See Details” where you will see a version of the first photo below.  If you then click the the “print spec sheet” link it produces a PDF with details on the option prices and you should see “Referral . . . ($1,000)” and “Free Supercharging . . . Included” shown in the second below photo.  If that is missing, E-mail me for another referral link if you find the code you have has stopped working after maxing out.
Referral Confirm
Spec Sheet
Q: How do I know that I will get the free supercharging for the life of my ownership of the new car?
A: Confirm you see it listed in the Spec Sheet like you see in the above photo.  Save the PDF of the spec sheet. 
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 and know their name if Tesla should vet.
 

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 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 Ownership Advisor (OA) or Delivery Specialist (DS) assigned to you and ask them to add the referral code (e.g., Thomas106) 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 OA/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 $2,000-25,000 off depending on location and amount of options.  Leases qualify too.  But, used CPO Teslas do not qualify for the referral or tax breaks.

Q: I am not in the United States, what discount will I get?
A: In your local 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.  Any referral code will work world wide, just the amount is localized by Tesla.

Q: When does this expire?

A: You must confirm order your car by 12/31/2017 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: With so many preorders already, 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 while Tesla works out the kinks on a new platform/model.  Plus, the initial Model 3s will not have AWD or a performance option.  With all the savings and tax breaks in this Wiki, I can get a Model S for about $55K, 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 so why not buy both!