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Want $1,000 from Tesla? You have five days

A Tesla Model S at a charging station in Utah.

Tesla Inc. is nearing the end of a two-year marketing experiment.

Starting Nov. 1, people who buy a new Tesla TSLA, +0.10% luxury vehicle through a referral code will go home with the right to use a Tesla “Supercharger”, company-speak for its fast-charging device usually clustered alongside major highways, free of charge forever. But they will no longer receive $1,000 in credits for a new car.

Tesla started offering the credit back in July 2015 ahead of the Model X launch. Initially, both the Tesla owner and the new buyer got the $1,000 credit, but Tesla has tweaked the program over the years.

Tesla owners participating in the referral program choose awards that depend on how many of their referrals translate into sales of a Model S sedan or a Model X SUV. Prizes include an “exclusive” wall charger with Chief Executive Musk’s signature etched on it.

At the time of the referral launch, Musk said the program was an experiment to determine whether it would make more sense to sell cars through personal referrals or to open more Tesla stores.

Tesla did not immediately return a request for comment on Thursday. Musk had signaled the end of the $1,000 credit in May.

Tesla does not run ads or sells its cars through dealerships. It has increased the number of its stores and service centers recently, adding 29 new locations in the second quarter.

The referral keeps alive at least for some future owners one of the perks that Tesla killed earlier this year.

The Silicon Valley car maker started to charge a fee for new owners using the supercharger stations beyond a yearly allowance. Owners of its Model 3, its first electric car aimed at the masses, will not have that yearly allowance. Customers who ordered their Model S or Model X before Jan. 15 can continue to use the network for free.

Tesla is expected to report third-quarter results next Wednesday. Analysts polled by FactSet expect an adjusted quarterly loss of $2.28 a share on sales of $2.94 billion, which would contrast with an adjusted profit of 71 cents a share on sales of $2.30 billion in the third quarter of 2016.

Read more: Tesla earnings: Model 3 production, demand under the microscope

Wall Street is likely to look past the results, however, to parse any statements around Model 3 production, which has hit snags due to what the company called a “bottleneck,” and whether demand for its luxury vehicles remains healthy.

Tesla also has faced controversy for its labor practices and efforts to unionize its factory in Fremont, Calif., including allegations in a recently filed lawsuit that the company is a hostile place for black employees. Tesla has denied the suit’s allegations as well as accusations that it has hampered the push for unionization.

The stock is up nearly 52% this year, far outpacing the 14% gains for the S&P 500 index. SPX, +0.13%


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