I am an old time supporter and believer in both the brand and its iconic leader (at least I was). I bought the roadster back when it first came out and took a huge bet on an unknown company with somewhat experimental technology that required many hours of debugging, not to mention the high product price, which I gladly paid knowing that I was supporting a new technology. When the model S came out, I double my bet and upgrade to one of the earlier units. During my customer experience I have introduced the technology to many of my business colleagues, resulting in at least three referral based sales and a handful of direct buys without referrals.
As I saw the company grow, I have seen its customer service continued to decline including missed timelines on maintenance appointments, replacement of parts, etc. As a business man myself with multiple businesses, I figured this was all part of growing pains and clearly associated with standard scaling issues. So I just worked through it.
Finally in September I decided to get a P100 so I can have enough distance to go from Palm Coast, Florida to Broward County, do a quick charge and hit Miami. I decided to go into the web site and configure a new P100 with the latest navigation hardware. I got an email from someone in California asking me if he could help. I will leave the name out as getting him in trouble is not my intention. I validated the configuration, and I called him to finalize the deal. He pointed out that all new cars don't offer unlimited charging any more. I was surprised to hear that as I currently have that with my old reliable Model S. I don't use supercharging that much, but after doing research I found out that up to five of my referral friends would get it, but not me???? Trying to continue to be a supporter, I asked what are my options for getting a P100 with supercharging included. He mentioned that if I buy a used one then I could get that, so we explored some options from used inventory. Here is the best part - I found the perfect used car with very similar configuration, BUT IT WAS MORE EXPENSIVE THAN A NEW ONE!!!! I started laughing as at first I thought this was a joke. Quickly I realized this was for real and the explanation was "we get better programs for new ones." When I asked the gentleman to reconsider selling me the new one but transferring the unlimited supercharging option to me he said "sorry, we have to make profit now..."
So here is my dilemma. As a long-time supporter of the brand, what it means to the automotive industry and the environment, I want to continue to support Tesla and Elon on his quest to make this a better world and revolutionize and antiquated industry. However, I believe Tesla needs to show some type of loyalty back to those of us who gamgle hundred's of thousands of dollars when they were just starting up. Those of us who have consistently supported the brand, generated sales via referals and by sharing a vision that EVs can be sexy, fast and efficient. I want Tesla to continue to grow, be profitable and maintain its leadership status in the EV and renewable spaces, but not at the cost of stepping all over those early adopters that believed in the company, its leader and the goal for a better car and a better tomorrow.
I took the time to write this, not to bitch or want anything in return, but rather in the hopes that Elon or someone who used to care about its early adopter customers will re-evaluate its customer loyalty programs and show us that they appreciated our support over the years.