Tesla auto owners close to Irma's path receive temporary upgrades

To help Floridians flee Irma, Tesla remotely extended range for free

To help Floridians flee Irma, Tesla remotely extended range for free

Tesla has remotely unlocked the ability for Florida drivers fleeing Hurricane Irma to get an extra 30 to 40 miles in an electric auto without recharging.

Battery packs in their Model S and Model X actually have a potential capacity of 75 kilowatt-hours; however, these cars are actually sold with software constraints that limit the cap.

The upgrade gives owners access to an additional 15kWh-the same 15kWh they would have had they purchased a Model S or Model X 75-which results in approximately 30-40 miles' worth of additional range. With mass disruptions to the flow of electricity expected across the state, that additional range is potentially a matter of life and death. Tesla then realized such an upgrade would be useful to anyone in the region, and sent it out for free. Not only does Tesla deliberately power down vehicle capacities in exchange for making them affordable (without paid upgrades), but that they can make any other changes without the owners needing to know, tantamount to an invasion of privacy. They were sold with the same 75kWh equipment as their more expensive siblings, but with software disabling the last 15kWh.

Tesla made a decision to give a hand to its customers, unlocking the battery's full potential in all models.

There's no word yet on how long owners have before the upgrade is rescinded, but with Irma bearing down, that's hardly owners' most pressing concern.

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