Some Tesla owners in Florida evacuating ahead of Hurricane Irma found their cars capable of driving further between charges. Cars that were affected by this are Model S and Model X that are delivered with 75 KWh battery pack but with software limitation, and the result of this was additional 30 to 40 miles of range.
Traffic jams and gas stations running out of fuel left many Florida residents anxious about whether their means of road transportation could help them reliably escape anxious the storm's path, and that included owners of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles in 60 and 60D trims, the lowest-cost models with the shortest ranges.
The software update released by Tesla essentially raised the operating range of the two Models from 210 miles to 249 miles, enabling owners to move out of the area once the evacuation recommendations were announced. For a period of time, Tesla sold the Models S and X with a 75 kWh pack that was limited by software to 60 or 70 kWh. One of the customers of Elon Musk's electric vehicle (EV) company contacted them saying that in order to make it out of the mandatory evacuation zone, they would need an additional 30 miles of range.
In a phone interview with The Register, Aaron Perzanowski, professor of law at Case Western Reserve University and the co-author of The End of Ownership: Personal Property in the Digital Economy, said Tesla made a responsible decision to help its customers.
Tesla usually charges drivers $9,000 for that privilege, but waived the fee to give drivers temporary use of the feature.
Florida still has a fully operational network of the fast chargers but Tesla is clearly keen to avoid owners having to queue for power.
Millions of people are now affected by the evacuation of Florida as Hurricane Irma starts reaching the state and creates some hard traffic situation when escaping north.