Tesla Dropping a Software Upgrade to Help Hurricane Irma Evacuees Pays Off

Tesla Remotely Extends Range To Help Owners Escape Hurricane Irma

Tesla pushed an emergency over-the-air update to some cars in the southeast USA, extending the electric cars range to help owners evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma.

According to Electrek, Tesla unlocked the battery capacity of their Tesla Model S and Telsa Model X 60/ 60D models so that they can all make full use of the 75kWh battery.

While the "60" models are no longer offered, they were once the cheapest Model S and Model X variants and were software limited to 60-kWh despite having 75-kWh batteries. But those newer Tesla owners require a "calibration period" for the new Autopilot, which the automaker said is meant to help "robustly" validate the "new hardware using real-world driving data". Drivers could unlock extra battery capacity with an update for an extra US$3,000.

The upgrade was specifically targeted to affect select base versions of Tesla's SUV and sedan models. But for Tesla, managing variations using software makes sense, given that the company sells only three vehicles now.

Tesla did not indicate how many vehicles received the update. While the owners in Florida undoubtedly appreciated Tesla's actions in a nightmarish situation, this sort of on-the-spot customization will surely only become more commonplace in the years to come, with all the philosophical questions it entails. Tesla has admitted that the emergency firmware update was released in order to help the owners who were in danger and as a result, once the danger has passed (16 of September), the battery capacity will be reduced to its initial value. Depending on the model, that could let drivers travel about 40 more miles before they would need to recharge their cars.

The report said Tesla's proprietary charging network includes about 20 Supercharger stations throughout Florida.

Hurricane Irma, a monstrous storm that broke records for intensity and endurance, made landfall in South Florida on Sunday.

Related News: