Tesla Gives Model S EVs in Path of Hurricane Michael Temporary Extended Battery Life

Owners will also be able to utilize supercharging at no cost in the affected areas.

byRob Stumpf|
Electric Vehicles photo


Hurricane Michael is ready to make waves along the Florida Panhandle as the Category 4 hurricane makes landfall Wednesday. Tesla, as it has in the past, will send an over-the-air update to some Model S vehicles in the path of the storm, enabling the use of additional untapped battery reserve so that the owners may safely escape the incoming storm.

A Tesla spokesperson told The Drive in a statement that it would temporarily increase the capacity of applicable vehicles via a software update in order to help its customers better prepare for Hurricane Michael. Owners of some vehicles with 40, 60, and 70 kilowatt-hour battery packs will begin to receive notifications that their vehicles will have access to additional battery capacity, enabling the batteries to temporarily increase capacity to 60kWh or 75kWh, depending on the vehicle's existing configuration.

Additionally, Tesla stated that it will enable free supercharging at all Superchargers in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina, as well as select cities in Alabama and Florida that reside along the evacuation routes. This is an added bonus to vehicles with 40 kWh and 60 kWh battery packs, as the option previously required a one-time payment of $2,500 to unlock the option from the factory.

The full list of free Supercharger locations are as follows:

  1. Auburn, Alabama
  2. Greenville, Alabama
  3. Mobile, Alabama
  4. DeFuniak Springs, Florida
  5. Lake City, Florida
  6. Live Oak, Florida
  7. Tallahassee, Florida

Tesla is able to grant select owners increased battery capacity with a software update due to the nature of how early Model S vehicles were constructed. Some vehicles were actually given a larger battery pack and subsequently software limited to charge within the capacity of which it was purchased. Tesla later enabled 60 kWh owners to purchase the additional locked capacity for $3,000, effectively enabling the use of all 75 kWh.

Previously, Tesla performed similar good-faith gestures for Hurricanes Irma and Florence.

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