Hungry for cash, Musk says company can no longer afford free Supercharging for new buyers

Tesla needs more cash. To help keep what it’s got from flying out the door, Chief Executive Elon Musk on Wednesday announced the end of a customer referral program that offers free Supercharging to new buyers.

“It’s adding too much cost to the cars, especially the Model 3,” Musk said in a tweet late Wednesday. The referral program, originally scheduled to end March 11, will cease on Feb. 1.

In the program’s latest iteration, a Tesla owner sends a referral code to a potential buyer. When the car is sold, the buyer gets six months of free charging at Tesla-branded stations, while the owner earns a prize. Earlier programs offered free charging for life to original car owners; Tesla will honor existing arrangements.

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