Tesla extends Florida cars range with OTA update

Jon Howard
September 12, 2017

Hurricane Irma hit the Florida, and to help out those in need Tesla Inc. chose to deploy a software update that allows some of its vehicles to use more of battery capacity and get the additional range in an effort to escape from the powerful storm.

The firm declined to comment on the giveaway, but said the interim fix (15 kWh, or about 30 to 40 additional miles) has been applied to specific vehicles registered to folks in Florida's evacuation area, and will remain accessible until September 16.

"Cars with a 75-kilowatt-hour battery pack were previously software limited to 210 miles of driving range per single charge and will now get 249 miles, the full range capacity of the battery", the company wrote on a blog. But a few extra free miles never hurt anyone.

Tesla owners know that their batteries have a maximum capacity that can be tapped during an emergency.

Tesla did not indicate how many vehicles received the update. Nonetheless, it underscores the lack of control owners of software-dependent devices actually have.

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This decision will help owners of electric cars to evacuate from the disaster zone.

"But it does illustrate a really important shift over who ultimately controls the devices we think of ourselves as owning", he said.

Tesla usually charges drivers $9,000 for that privilege, but waived the fee to give drivers temporary use of the feature. Changes to the way cars were made remotely using the system software update via mobile Internet.

Interestingly, the idea for the update didn't come from Tesla. "I think Tesla is happy to allow customers to think of the transaction in those terms". And Apple is donating money and enabling others to do so via its App Store and iTunes.

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