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Tesla Sends Remote Update to Extend Range of Vehicles Fleeing Hurricane Irma

In an unprecedented move, Tesla sent an over-the-air update to its vehicles in Florida that unlocked the car’s full battery capacity, allowing drivers to travel and additional 40 miles on a charge. The update, which came after the company was contacted by an owner who was a few miles short of reaching the mandatory evacuation area ahead of Hurricane Irma, removed the cap on the company’s 60 and 70 kWh models, allowing the drivers to use 100% of the battery’s capacity. The update was pushed to the automaker’s Model S and Model X with 60 kWh and 70 kWh battery capacities. The number of vehicles that received the update has not been released at this time.

The update will remain in place until September 16th, when the cars will most likely revert back to their standard 80% capacity. While many view commenting on the story, first revealed by The Verge, view the update as Tesla exhibiting too much control over its vehicles after the sale, we wholeheartedly disagree. Having dabbled in the radio control world a bit, I have seen first hand what happens when you fully discharge a lithium-based battery. While there is the occasional fire, the more common outcome is the capacity of the battery itself is decreased by a substantial margin. There’s no easy way to predict the outcome, but Tesla saw the need to give it’s customers a little extra mileage, despite potentially damaging the battery, which we have to assume Tesla will repair if the capacity is impacted due to this update.

There’s not another automobile manufacturer in the world, from Rolls Royce to Bentley to Aston Martin, that can send an update to increase their car’s miles-per-tank, making Tesla rather unique in this aspect. There’s a very real chance those extra 30-40 miles will at least get the car itself farther out of the storm’s path, and could possibly save lives.

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