Tesla is providing a boost to those in the path of Hurricane Irma.
If you own a Tesla car and you live in Irma’s predicted path, Tesla is increasing the battery power of your car to make sure you have enough of a charge to get out of harm’s way.
Tesla batteries that typically have 60 or 70 kWh will be boosted to 75 kWh until Saturday, September 16. This is how it works: every battery in Teslas sold has the option to be a 75 kWh battery but was locked through software to only reach 60 kWh if the purchaser opted for that price point. The battery can then be unlocked for a situation like this. It is cheaper to produce one product (a battery in this case) then limit performance with digital guards.
The battery increase came after a Tesla owner contacted the company and asked for an adjustment as he attempted to flee the storm. Irma was a hurricane that has since been downgraded to a tropical storm, but still has the potential to cause significant damage and claim lives.
The boost has been applied to Model S and X cars and comes as a software update. The change could let drivers travel an extra 65 kilometres, which could be the difference in escaping a flooded area and making it to safety, or even the power to recharge your car.
However, nearly 4.5 million homes and business across Florida lost power, so if you needed to charge the electric Tesla, it might have been difficult to find a location.
This move by Tesla could set a precedent for how both new and old companies, specifically those responsible for how people get around, respond to catastrophe and evacuation orders. Many airlines were under fire for charging thousands of dollars for flights out of affected areas, but a few also capped prices to ensure those who really needed to fly out could afford it.
The upgrade to actually purchase the permanent 75 kWh battery is about $5,000.