Maybe the demand for the latest crossover isn't as high as anticipated.
In an unexpected move, Tesla has just added its new, affordable Model Y crossover to the list of models eligible for its referral program - a program by which existing Tesla customers are rewarded for referring new buyers to the brand. Considering how new the Y is, and how much pent up demand there appeared to be for the new vehicle, its addition to the list could indicate that Tesla is anticipating weakening demand due to the current rocky economic climate.
Previously, energy consultancy WoodMac had forecast a 43% drop in global EV demand for the year as a result of lower oil prices and economic fallout from the global pandemic.
On the other hand, it's worth noting that Tesla has reworked its referral program to lessen the cost to the automaker after the company underestimated the number of free new Tesla Roadsters it would have to give away under the old scheme. That number, for the record, is 80. Instead, the new Tesla referral program includes rewards like free Supercharger miles, solar panels, solar roof tiles, and chances to win the Tesla Model Y and all-new Roadster.
And Tesla's adding the Y to its referral program could simply indicate that the automaker has caught up with existing demand, and is forecasting having more than enough capacity moving forward.
Still, Electrek notes that it took roughly a year after the Model 3 entered production for it to be added to the referral program list, and even then, only the top-of-the-line Model 3 Performance was eligible.
Tesla restarted production at its Fremont, California factory toward the middle of May, and it appears as though the company was quickly able to ramp back up and get back on top of consumer demand, quickly reining in the delivery timeline for the brand new Model Y from 8-12 weeks to 4-8. In the future, the company could have even more help meeting global demand, with work underway on a new plant near Berlin, Germany, and rumors that the EV manufacturer could be weighing a production site in the UK.