Published: Tue, September 12, 2017
Money | By Charlene Sutton

Tesla Extends Vehicle Range to Drivers in Hurricane Irma's Path

Tesla Extends Vehicle Range to Drivers in Hurricane Irma's Path

Tesla owners know that their batteries have a maximum capacity that can be tapped during an emergency.

According to USA Today, in an effort to streamline production, Tesla includes the same batteries in many of its models, but charges an additional fee to "unlock" the higher available capacity.

The update lets owners of 60 and 70 kilowatt-hour Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles in the path of Irma temporarily use the full capacity of their 75kWh battery packs, which would typically cost thousands of dollars. The company responded by issuing an update to all the drivers in Florida, giving them access to the full 75 kWh capacity of their EV's until September 16, then it will revert back to the standard rating.

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From there it is predicted to steam inland Sunday afternoon over the highly populated Tampa Bay region. Then later, after moving over water, Irma is expected to come ashore around Cape Coral or Fort Myers.

That Tesla can update its vehicle software on-the-fly is not news, but this is the first time the company had done so to help people in an emergency.

Tesla introduced its cheaper Model X and Model S vehicles past year with an 75 KWH battery that was software locked to use 80% of that available power. "Features you've come to expect can be taken away or degraded not because the hardware has changed but because decisions were made about what the software can do", he said.

Cars have been upgraded with 40 miles more juice to help drivers evacuate the region as the deadly storm sweeps in. Luckily for them, Tesla is lending a hand as well.

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Many may consider that Tesla has released the update in order to look after its customers, however, one cannot deny the fact that this initiative could also serve marketing purposes, as many Model S and X owners would agree to pay for the increased range. On Sunday, CNN reported long lines and gas outages at some gas stations in Florida; Tesla's Supercharger network appears to be largely unaffected at the time of writing.

Hurricane Irma left the Caribbean devastated last week and has ripped through Florida, too, leaving huge flooding in its wake.

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