Published: Wed, September 13, 2017
Culture | By Antonia Gonzales

Irma God: Tesla Gives Temporary Range Boost to Help Owners Flee Hurricane

Irma God: Tesla Gives Temporary Range Boost to Help Owners Flee Hurricane

"We recently introduced some minor hardware changes to the Autopilot system in new cars, and we are now in the process of robustly validating the new hardware using real-world driving data", a Tesla spokeswoman said in a statement Sunday afternoon.

All Tesla Model S and X cars ship with the same battery, but cheaper versions can only access about 80 percent of its power. For example, Tesla has sold Model S cars rated P60D-the 60 stands for 60kWh of energy storage-that actually have 75kWh batteries.

As Florida residents fled Hurricane Irma over the weekend, some Tesla owners got a little surprise from the auto maker to help them get out of the danger zone.

Cars have been upgraded with 40 miles more juice to help drivers evacuate the region as the deadly storm sweeps in. Unlocking special features would normally cost a lot to users, but today, it was done in good faith and for free. There's no souping up a Tesla 60 on your own, no engine to fix up.

According to Techcrunch, the emergency measure was first noticed by the Tesla community on Reddit early Saturday, in a thread asking, "Did Tesla just upgrade my 60D due to the hurricane?".

The firm declined to comment on the giveaway, but said the interim fix (15 kWh, or about 30 to 40 additional miles) has been applied to specific vehicles registered to folks in Florida's evacuation area, and will remain accessible until September 16.

Tesla did not immediately respond to PCMag's request for comment, but confirmed the move to Electrek.

"As vehicles become more advanced and reliant on software systems that can be tweaked instantly, from anywhere, owner control and access diminishes and is yielded back to the company", pointed out Justin Westbrook at Jalopnik.

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