For Tesla owners who don’t have free Supercharging and battery packs with software-limited battery capacity, Tesla is temporarily enabling both for those in Hurricane Florence’s path in order to facilitate their travels.
That’s due to Tesla using an unforeseen feature of their over-the-air software update system.
Tesla used to offer the option to buy a Model S or Model X with a 75 kWh battery pack software-locked at a capacity of 60 kWh. The option would result in a less expensive vehicle with a shorter range and the option to pay to remotely enable the longer range at a later stage.
Some of those owners on the Carolina coast are reporting this morning receiving this notification from Tesla inside their cars:
“We are temporarily enabling your car to access additional battery capacity, as well as free Supercharging, in preparation for Hurrican Florence. We hope this gives you the peace of mind to get to a safe location, and will notify you before returning your car to its original configuration in mid-October. Badging on your display may adjust during this period. Safe travels.”
Hurricane Florence, a potentially dangerous category 4 storm, is currently heading toward the Carolina coast and it is expected to hit North Carolina fairly hard.
Tesla did the same thing in Florida last year when Hurricane Irma hit the region.
It results in unlocking 15 kWh of battery capacity for approximately 30 to 40 additional miles.
Furthermore, Tesla’s Superchargers have often proven to be a more useful way to recharge than gas stations for gasoline cars in those scenarios as long lines are formed as people rush to get out of evacuation zones and other areas at risk.
During Irma last year, many gas stations ended up running out of gas.
This is a very cool move from Tesla.
When they did it last year, it was misrepresented by many who focused on the software-limited battery packs – saying that it means Tesla was screwing people over by limiting the battery capacity.
The option was more about offering a less expensive battery pack without having to produce a different size pack, which helps streamline production.
It gave buyers a less expensive option and they could always unlock the capacity later for a price.
For those who decided to not unlock it, it now gives an opportunity for Tesla to let them have more range at a critical time by using Tesla’s over-the-air software update capability.