YouTube star referred over $10 million in Tesla sales to get a free car

This YouTube star referred over $12 million in sales to Tesla—and won two...

YouTube star Ben Sullins, who has facilitated over $10 million in Tesla sales, has scored the biggest prize available from Tesla's referral program: a free Founder’s Series Next Gen Roadster.

Although the car isn’t slated to be released until 2020, Sullins is looking forward to owning his third Tesla to go with his Model 3 and Model S. “I'm definitely going to take one on a long road trip with my wife up and down the California coast as I promised her already,” Sullins tells CNBC Make It. “Other than that, I want to share it with people, I want to take people for rides, I want to go to car events.

"I want to do what Elon has intended to do with the car, which is to remove the halo from gas-powered cars to electric cars.”

YouTuber Ben Sullins (R) stands with his wife (L) and their son during their Model S delivery on January 16, 2016.
Courtesy of Ben Sullins

Two years ago, Sullins, 36, quit his full-time, six-figure job as a data scientist to become a full-time content producer for his blog and YouTube channel Teslanomics. He qualified for the free Roadster in 2017; to date, over 100 people have used his referral link to purchase their own cars. CNBC Make It has confirmed that Sullins is among the top-performing participants of Tesla's program and is not affiliated with nor sponsored by the company.

“My wife asked me the other day, ‘Why are you doing this?’ because I could just be making online courses and those are financially far more lucrative,” Sullins says. “But my answer wasn’t money, it’s just fun. I get to go to fun events and get to do crazy things, and the more and more you do it, the most access you get. It’s just amazing."

In July of 2015, Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced the referral program for Tesla owners to encourage their friends to buy cars, too, by offering incentives. "I'm not entirely certain at all if it will work or not,” Musk said at the time.

Through the program, Sullins has also earned a VIP Tesla factory tour, invitations to the Model 3 and Tesla Semi truck unveilings and a kid-sized Tesla Model S. He is owed other rewards, too, like the Tesla Powerall rechargeable home batteries, and early access to Solar Roof, Tesla's solar panel roof tiles.

Though Sullins hasn’t gotten to meet Musk personally, the two exchanged tweets earlier this year when together they helped raise over $18,000 for charity. “All the other stuff is nice," Sullins says. "But really the core thing is to try to make an impact and to try to make the world a better place here, because it's the only one we’ve got."

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Video produced by Mary Stevens.