Tesla Remotely Increases Range To Cars Fleeing Hurricane Florence

Another hurricane, another cool move from Tesla. The EV manufacturer has temporarily extended the range of vehicles in the area affected by Hurricane Florence.

Last year, Tesla did the same for owners fleeing Hurricane Irma, only this time there’s an added bonus. In addition to unlocking battery capacity, the company has also granted free access to Superchargers for owners who don’t have it. Both freebies come via Tesla’s over-the-air software update system.

Before jumping to conclusions and criticizing Tesla for denying owners access to the full capacity of their cars’ batteries in the first place, you should know the range extension only applies to Model S or Model X cars with a 75 kWh battery pack software-locked at 60 kWh.

Tesla used to offer such software-limited batteries that allowed customers to buy a less expensive vehicle with a shorter range with the possibility to pay to unlock the full capacity at a later stage. Unlocking 15 kWh of battery capacity results in around 30 to 40 additional miles (48-64 km), which could be enough to allow Tesla owners to get to a safe zone.

Owners located on the Carolina coast told Electrek they received the following notification from Tesla on their cars’ infotainment systems.

“We are temporarily enabling your car to access additional battery capacity, as well as free Supercharging, in preparation for Hurricane 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 hit North Carolina’s shore early Friday as Category 1 storm, bringing 90-mph (145-km/h) winds, relentless rains, and leaving almost 500,000 homes without electricity.

Hat tip to Harsh!

  • Six_Tymes

    he sure knows how to advertise. but i cant help but wonder, just now? will the “additional battery capacity” be taken away after the storm, or is this a permanent capacity extension?

    • ace_9

      From the message sent to the car owners: “We are TEMPORARILY enabling your car to access additional battery capacity”. And I’m not sure, but doesn’t using the full capacity decrease the life of a battery more compared to using only some percentage?

      • Dude

        That’s correct but the justification is that it’s for an emergency

        • ace_9

          Yes, but more expensive version uses the full capacity always. So it sounds like paying more for faster degradation.

          • Scherpereel Clement

            Why do you care ? Do you have a Tesla ?
            Also their battery are warranty for life so when they start to fade out, Tesla will just replace them for free.
            Also now that the first S model are old enough, we can see that the battery are not fading very quickly (less then 10% dropping in 8 years), tell that to your phone constructor.

          • ace_9

            First of all, I don’t CARE. I was just surprised that there are versions which have better potential for saving the battery, but they are in fact cheaper models. Secondly, no, I don’t have a Tesla, never wanted it and will probably never have it, because I have no place to charge it and I’m not rich. And frankly, I’m quite tired of all the blind electro-fanatics who don’t seem to be aware of many common people living in flats, that cannot afford 60+k€ car. Additionally, there is no warranty or repair shops for Teslas in my country. And phones are using the same battery technology as Tesla, so please don’t pretend that there is something amazing about technology of Tesla batteries. There are other factors influencing battery life besides the technology and manufacturing process. So yeah, you can now say I’m a Tesla hater. In fact I’m probably electric car hater 🙂

          • Scherpereel Clement

            So you’re stupid, like it or not electric car are the futur, I don’t have 60k+ to buy a model S or even other car, franckly I wouldn’t buy an electric car now, I rather buy an old school car to have fun with before they put all the ICE car to rest.
            Saying that you’re a hater of something like that is plainly stupid. Sying you prefer ICE car is perfectly ok tho.
            Also you can get a Model 3 for 35k before state bonus so you can probably get on for less then 30k.

    • Nick099

      Either way, it’s creepy Big Brother watching your every move.

      • TheBelltower

        How is this “Big Brother watching your every move” ?

        • Nick099

          Interesting that I have to spell it out.

          It would take volumes to explain it all, so here is a few short sentences.

          A Tesla vehicle is a “connected” device.
          Connected as in connected to a company server.

          Like a smart phone that is a “connected” device that accumulates massive data of the user that it sends back to a private company ( Google, Apple, Microsoft).

          That we have learned over the last few years that all of these companies are accessed by government agencies when in voluntary cooperation or not.

          That we know of the nexus between big biz and government in a symbiotic relationship often at the detriment of the populations they are supposed to be serving.

          Do the math.

          But let me give you a real example.

          More than ten years ago GM’s Onstar was compelled by the government to turn on their systems in cars without the user’s knowledge. Why? Cause the government wanted to listen in on reputed gangsters. GM refused, fearing market loss if the news got out. The government went to court and won.

          Now it is done as a routine. See:

          “Cartapping: How Feds Have Spied On Connected Cars For 15 Years,” published in Forbes in 2015.

          That is Big Brother.

          • TheBelltower

            Your cell phone is a datapoint for traffic flow reporting on online maps. The mic on your phone and laptop are being used in algorithms that send you programatic advertising. Your connected thermostat can tell when you’re home and when you’re not… also to target marketing. No car necessary. Regardless, none of this has anything to do with this article. In this case, the technology is being used so that people get free charging, longer driving range, and to show the differentiation between Tesla and other cars. This capability requires a unique implementation of technology that other automakers don’t have, but is no more “big brother-ing” than any conventional modern car.

          • Nick099


            I have a bridge for sale in Brooklyn… Interested?

            Naturally you did not address how this connectivity has been misused.
            Again read the Forbes article and spare me the effort. It would be a waste of my time otherwise.

          • TheBelltower

            I did not address it because it isn’t the conversation. Jeezus you’re a bore.

          • Nick099

            And you are limited grasshopper.


  • Vassilis

    Listened to Rogan’s podcast with Musk as a guest a few days ago. I must say his image improved massively in my eyes. He really seems like a misunderstood genius.

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