As Hurricane Irma set its sights on Florida late last week and earlier this week, Tesla issued an unexpected over-the-air update to help drivers in the state unlock the full potential battery capacity of its 60 and 70 kWH Model S and X vehicles. Here’s what you need to know.
Elon Musk and the team at Tesla unlocked the full battery capacity for those that owned a 60 or 70 kWH Model S or X in any area of Florida that was under a mandatory evacuation. The update gave drivers and extra 30 to 40 miles of driving range above that of what they already had.
For those that don’t know, last year Tesla did announce cheaper Model S and X variants that came in a 60 and 70 kWH version. The 60 and 70 kWH models where no different than the 75 kWH model, except for the fact that the 60 and 70 kWH models had a software modification preventing it to completely charge the 75 kWH battery inside of the car, making it appear to be a 60 or 70 kWH car. This helped to streamline production, and allowed customers to unlock the full battery capacity at a later date for $3,000. Since then Tesla has discontinued the Model S 60/60D and the Model X 60D, as few drivers were purchasing them because of their low range on a single charge.
The 60 and 60D vehicles achieve just over 200 miles of range on a single charge, depending on the road conditions, weather conditions, etc. Because the 60 and 60D are equipped with a 75 kWH batter pack, Musk and his team sent out an over-the-air update removing the built-in software limitation to allow drivers to charge the entire 75 kWH battery, achieving an extra 30 to 40 miles of range until September 16th, 2017. The move came after Musk received an email from a Tesla owner that said he and his family only needed an extra 30 miles of range to get to safety. Tesla sent the following email to customers notifying them of the change, and have made a public statement confirming the update:
We at Tesla hope that you and your loved ones are safe while preparing for the hurricanes approaching Florida.
Due to these exceptional circumstances, and to help you better prepare to evacuate and get to safety, your vehicle has been adjusted at no cost to you to temporarily access the additional battery capacity until September 16th. You will notice the badging on the instrument cluster will read 75 during this period. We hope that this allows you to travel to your next destination with confidence and ease.
The move is simply classy and the right thing to do. This is just another prime example of how Tesla is so different than 99% of the other car manufacturers. Instead of worrying about the amount of money that could have charged their customers, they made the move to help those that could potentially lose their entire life possessions get to safety that much easier.