To help Floridians flee Irma, Tesla remotely extended range for free

September 12, 2017

With millions of Florida residents bracing for potential Irma devastation, owners of the Tesla Model S 60 and Model X 60 received a free temporary upgrade. Tesla sent out an automatic, over-the-air upgrade to anyone living in a mandatory evacuation zone, remotely extending their vehicle’s range to help them escape potential harm.

The upgrade gives owners access to an additional 15kWh—the same 15kWh they would have had they purchased a Model S or Model X 75—which results in approximately 30-40 miles’ worth of additional range. With mass disruptions to the flow of electricity expected across the state, that additional range is potentially a matter of life and death.

MORE: Read our review of the Tessla Model X

According to Electrek, the decision to automatically upgrade vehicles in the region began with a Tesla owner requesting it for his own vehicle in order to facilitate his optimal evacuation route. Tesla then realized such an upgrade would be useful to anyone in the region, and sent it out for free.

The Model S 60 and Model X 60 are budget-friendly versions of the more powerful, longer-range S and X 75. They were sold with the same 75kWh equipment as their more expensive siblings, but with software disabling the last 15kWh. The idea was that if owners decided at a later date to pay for an upgrade, the full 75kWh would be unlocked via an over-the-air software update—exactly what Tesla has done for those in Irma’s path.

There’s no word yet on how long owners have before the upgrade is rescinded, but with Irma bearing down, that’s hardly owners’ most pressing concern.

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