Tesla has remotely upgraded the battery capacity of a number of Tesla cars in Florida in order to help those that may be fleeing Hurricane Irma.
NBC News reports that electric car manufacturer and tech company Tesla has remotely upgraded the battery capacity of a number of Tesla vehicles in Florida in order to assist those that may have been attempting to flee the state as Hurricane Irma approached. The company reportedly issued remote updates to their Model S sedan and Model X cars in the days leading up to the storm, increasing the battery capacity that a car owner could access. Some owners reported that they were getting between 30 to 40 miles more range as a result of the update.
A Tesla spokesperson spoke directly to NBC News, confirming that the company used their remote update feature to allow car owners to access more of their car battery’s capacity. The update focused on Tesla’s SUV and sedan models known as the Models S and X 60, 60D, 70 and 70D. These cars had 60 kilowatt-hours of battery capacity but actually used the same 75 kWh battery as Tesla’s more expensive, but longer-range Models S and X 75 and 75D models. The update issued by Tesla removed previous software limitations that only allowed owners of the lower grade models to access a certain percentage of the car’s battery.
Tesla already offered to upgrade lower grade model cars to give them access to their full battery capacity for a fee ranging between $4,500 to $9,000. Due to the risk of hurricane Irma, however, Tesla decided to provide this service to all lower grade model car owners free of charge. The software update provided car owners with a wireless upgrade that boosted car range to about 230 miles at highway speeds. For many Floridians traveling from Miami to Atlanta, this would reduce the number of charging stops they would need by one. A journey from Detroit to New York City would have charging stops reduced by nearly two.
Owners will be able to tell if they have received the free update by checking the digital display that operates almost all Tesla vehicle functions. However, this update from Tesla is only temporary and will last until September 16th when the cars’ battery capacity will be reduced back to normal.