As Hurricane Irma Impacts Florida, Tesla Sends Range-Extending OTA Update To Model S, X-Owning Evacuees


Before Hurricane Irma started hitting the outer islands of Florida, Tesla issued an over-the-air update that should make is easier for evacuees to escape the storm.

The OTA update was sent out to Model S and X owners with the 60 kWh battery pack. This immediately unlocked the additional 15 kWh that was software blocked. This bumped up range significantly, from 210 miles in a 60 kWh Model S to 249 miles, in the now-unlocked 75 kWh Model S. For some, this could be the difference from escaping the storm and getting caught in the devastation.

Tesla says the range-extending update will remain in place through September 16. The range upgrade typically costs $2,000.

60 To 75 KWH Upgrade Price

Sources say that Tesla made the decision to push this update following one single request by an owner in the soon-to-be-impacted area. It seems the owner needed just a bit more range to get out of harm’s way.

As Teslarati explains:

“Reports of Tesla Model S 60 owners living in the path of Hurricane Irma who received a sudden increase in battery range first surfaced on Reddit. “I’m in South Florida and I own a MS60. I just checked my app and look what it says. I’ve never been higher that 215 miles. Did Tesla do this for evacuations?” asked Redditor Ludachris9000.”

“Similar reports soon followed across the Tesla Motors Club, with one Tesla owner confirming that the battery range upgrade was issued to all Tesla owners with an upgradeable 60 kWh battery, and living in Hurricane Irma’s evacuation zone in Florida, to 75 kWh.”

“I verified it was released to any 60s in the evacuation zones. I was told it will be removed on September 16.” said CMPSL.”

A Tesla spokesperson later confirmed the OTA update, saying that Tesla did unlock the extra 15 kWh for owners who may be in the region where fleeing Hurricane Irma is a priotity.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to those in Florida and elsewhere who have been or will be affected by the storm.

Sources: Teslarati, Tesla Motors Club Forum

Categories: Tesla


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77 Comments on "As Hurricane Irma Impacts Florida, Tesla Sends Range-Extending OTA Update To Model S, X-Owning Evacuees"

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Excellent that they’re forward thinking and nimble enough to get this done!

I always like to see a “never mind the BS, just get it done now” attitude from any organization.

This is a win-win situation. Tesla owners who had a Model S that got this temporary upgrade gets a little help in escaping the hurricane, and perhaps may decide the longer range is worth getting later on.

Tesla gets lots of free and positive publicity for helping out Model S drivers. And may also get a boost in sales in Florida now because of this.

WOW, now this is future. You pay 100.000$ and need charity of the company to escape a storm. And the company makes some publicity at the expense of the bereaved.

The half-full glass...

Well… that’s one twisted way to look at it I guess. :^/ Just goes to show anything can be spun to fit a negative viewpoint.

Especially when you don’t know Jack!

In that possible way does this hurt the Tesla owners in Florida? Sure, Tesla does get attention for helping there customers but I really can’t see how this hurts the customer.

As for paying $100,000 and need help, how is it for them how have buy a $100,000 BMW and can’t get fuel, how does BMW help there customers. Think, someone have bought a really expensive car and need help to get out because there is no place to fuel, really bad.

Only 66% of gas stations in FL are out of fuel. And the state had been working for a week to get extra fuel in.

They can’t increase the number of superchargers on short order like that.

None of the fuel stations I have seen. Some are somewhat busy as people leave cars at pump and go shopping as grocery stories are closed already. But no lines.

What are you talking about? Good on Tesla for helping people in a crisis. Yes Tesla gets good PR as well they should.

Similarly, during Irma and Harvey, GM turned on full onstar service to every car in the affected areas and offered payment delays for 90 days. Or if the car was destroyed, discounts on a new GM.

These types of actions can help ease the burden when you’re trying to escape or are suffering following a disaster.

Jack, there’s a saying: “When your heart is filled with darkness, you see darkness in everything..”

Think about that for a second..

The sad thing is that this gimmick will no way help to escape without waiting hours recharging, $100,000 or not. People drive 500-800 miles as the whole Florida is affected.

Maybe there are no lines at chargers, I don’t know, most people are not some crazy zealots to endanger themselves by attempting to evacuate in battery cars. I hope everybody in barrier islands has refuelable car or is ready to spend time in a public shelter and stay safe.

We really should feel sorry for the mean-spirited trolls who try to twist how Tesla is helping out in a national emergency into some kind of negative thing. These trolls have to live with themselves and their shriveled hearts every day. Fortunately, we don’t.

This serves to illustrate how helpless EVs can be in a natural disaster scenario. No time to charge at home; all public chargers in use, car sitting in traffic for ten hours using up range with A/C. This is where you want 500 miles of real range, as in a cheap ICE.

Compared to not being able to get gas at all because all the station around you are out.

Some cans full of gas in your garage? No this solution is too complicated, right?

I like EVs, they are great and will be the future, but they have disadvantages. I hate that some folks here are blatantly lying to defend EVs. In a scenario like this or worse, EVs clearly have no advantage. ICEs have twice the range, its easy to store large amounts of fuel at gas stations, at home or in the car. Afterwards when a lot of infrastructure might have been damaged, its easy to transport fuel as well. Repairing power lines, replacing solar modules, etc. is not.

By all means, I think we should abandon all pursuits of EV’s starting NOW based on their more limited abilities to outrun hurricanes.

Good call. Let’s ramp up the oil refineries.


Well said.

I don’t agree with you on all points even if you have right on some. You say that it’s easy to store a lot of gas on the gas stations, why have then several gas station no gas in Florida anymore? Is it the owner how have been stupid or can them maybe not store enough for this types of scenarios?

You say that gas station comes online before the grid after disasters butthis is not always true. Gas stations is dependent on electricity to work and on many cases the electricity is on before the gas station start to get gasoline. At the time when the gas station gets gasoline it a big chanse it will be long queues at the stations while most EV owners will be able to charge at home.

Charge at home?

If you start in Miami and want to get to Georgia there isn’t an EV you could charge at home that could get you there.

Charging at home is a big advantage for EVs. But it’s not the case when you’re trying to evacuate a 400-mile long peninsula. Not unless you happen to own a 2nd home to stop at halfway there.

Sort of. You get whatever your range is away from where you are.

PlugShare, Ford/Nissan dealers, Blink/ChargePoint networks after that.

Unless you happen to own a long range Tesla which when combined with Supercharging will get you 400 miles in about 7 hours driving at 60mph and ONE 45 minute supercharger stop.

But keep trolling unlucky.

Supercharging isn’t charging at home.

So you’re going to have to charge away from home to get there. As I said.

And by the way, who here is ‘blatantly lying to defend EV’s?’

Paranoid much?

No, calling someone a “liar” just because you have a difference of opinion doesn’t mean someone is paranoid. It just means they’re a troll.

Storing multiple cans of gas in a garage is usually not the best idea. That stuff does not stay fresh forever, can migrate through plastic after a while and stink the place up real good. Not to mention that (at least in Europe) gas is suspected to cause cancer if inhaled over a longer duration (that’s the reason why the service guys that used to fill up the car for you in the olden days do no longer exist). It also is a major fire hazard, and in case of flooding can ruin the rest of the house / property or at least seriously damage the environment (big issue in rural Europe where oil (diesel fuel) is used for heating purposes). It also (especially after a serious disaster) can attract looters in need of fuel.

Gasoline storage…
“About 3-5 months depending on where it’s kept. If you add a fuel stabilizer it’ll last 6-8 months. You only have to add a small amount, and it’s sold in small bottles at convenience stores, auto stores, etc. Storage of gasoline in the tank recommends a maximum of one year.”

No need to get paranoid with storing gas for months really. It is not zombie apocalypse yet, just yet another hurricane, happens all the time.

Gas trucks get police escorts in Florida now to go through traffic and you can fill as much gas as you want even today. Some stations may be disorganized and out of fuel or closed, but you don’t need them all, just one. Once you fill, you can go 300-700 miles non-stop.

Can always count on the fossil fuel shill, serial anri-Tesla troll zzzzz to minimize or lie on everything in relation to his pay masters in the fossil fool business and likewise exaggerate issues/lie in regards regards to Tesla.

Meanwhile the planet is dying but what the hell, as long as he gets his paycheck he will throw his own descendants and ours under the bus for money.

Get Real>
You tin foil hat is too tight, it is probably affecting your brain function.

I don’t need some sensationalist media reports to see situation on the ground. I can see zealots and fanatics like you got their their way to power just 100 of miles away in Cuba. What once were prominent freedom fighters against oppressive regime felt entitled to become yet another even worse dictators, just because they imagined they know better than everybody else what is greater good.

Yeah right, the only tin foil hat here is yours and it probably says Trump or Make America White Again or something equally ridiculous on it.

Sure, we all are highly interested in your Trump rants.
Maybe get your meds, it will help to you “get real” and back to Earth.

“You tin foil hat is too tight, it is probably affecting your brain function.”

Hmmm, I think the tinfoil-hat nutjob here is the science denier who keeps insisting that someday they’ll figure out a magic way to change the physical properties of the hydrogen molecule, so the “hydrogen economy” hoax can actually come true!

That would be the “fool cell” fanboy known as “zzzzzzzzzz”.

There are many options for escaping natural events other than a car with a 500 range tank.

Many people ALL OVER THE WORLD manage their lives and finances where a automobile IS NOT the center of their universe and live productive lives.

While gasoline automobiles can provide benefits, they also establish dependencies (false) that make life more difficult.

I think EV owners (most) must be more proactive and plan their activities and not assume fuel availability is near guaranteed.

Furthermore, in a perfect world we would all buy items that are 2-3x what we need ‘in case that once in a lifetime event occurs’. Just incase. It is that wasteful approach to risk management that requires little mental effort and is just simpleminded.

I have a friend in the greater Miami area who decided days ago to shelter in place, in no small part because of widespread reporting of gas outages in Florida.

I bet the Superchargers along I-95 were working just fine.

I bet they were. But they can’t serve enough customers when everyone is trying to evacuate.

Especially since people are going to be trying to charge to 100% in this case.

No time to charge at home when the hurricane warning has been in place for days? If they charged full at home, even 100 miles would be enough to get out of the harm’s way, no need to use the supercharger.

What is more likely is that all them free chargers got scared and they charged at home, thus freeing up lots of superchargers for those who really need them. And the cheapskates in storm’s path who didn’t charge at home deserve all the waiting.

But if everyone were unable to fuel at home (ie. ICE cars, FCEV), there will be shortages and long lines. And since there may be “anti gouging” law in place where the price can’t adjust to demand, they would be sold out of gas due to many who buy gas “just in case”, and those who really need it will be out of luck. Since they can’t even fuel at home, they’ll be SOL.

Therefore, even having a ~100 miles BEV would be far better in case of hurricane.

You can hyper-mile a Bolt to over 300 real world miles of range.

And, um, if my life depends on it and I’m sitting for hours in traffic, I’m likely gonna be turning off the A/C and likely the car itself in order to preserve the range.

But that’s just me. I could be wrong, but I don’t recall any events in the United States where anyone’s had to drive over 300 miles to escape impending death.

Floyd. 1999. Waaaayyyyy worse evacuation. In fact numerous other hurricanes have been like this. We were in SC at the time and the problem with Floyd is that it kept turning. First they evacuated the Florida coast, then the Georgia, then SC, then NC, etc. It just wouldn’t come ashore. The problem this created was I believe the largest evacuation in history by a wide wide margin. This was compounded by the fact that many of the poeple evacuating Florida naturally went north which just made the Georgia/Carolinas situation worse. In SC where we were in Charleston they turned the interstate around so that all lanes pointed away from the sea. No inbound traffic. This was all the way to Columbia, SC. We were smart and waited until the tropical force winds hit to evacuate. That sounds dumb right? But we took off the night before and in 3 hours got 5 miles. The entire interstate was jammed and thousands of cars had run out of gas on the interstate making it an unmitigated mess. Also there was nowhere to go and no hotels or anything anywhere because so many millions of millions of people had fled. We tried to… Read more »

Fair enough, it’s happened in the past. Is it common? That’s another debate.

My point is if you aren’t moving, turn off your gas or electric car. And how many folks are clogged on the roads because they played the odds that the storm wouldn’t be that bad?

I think I’d drive an electric based on the norm- not the exception. Then I’d plan accordingly, and leave early (regardless what I was driving) and skip the whole mass exodus. Improper planning isn’t a fault of electrics.

It may be hard to understand for people who never left dry climate areas, but it is rainy season in Florida, especially if edge of hurricane is reaching you. You don’t turn A/C off when it is 87-95 F outside, raining and 100% humidity. It is way too uncomfortable and your windows get fogged immediately.

You miss the point, if I’m outrunning a hurricane I’m gonna suck it up buttercup and deal with the discomfort of being hot and stuffy while I’m saving my own life! What idiot sacrifices mileage for safety in the name of being comfortable?? If turning my car off (electric OR ICE) while I sit idle in traffic ensures I make it the required mileage to safety, I guess I’m gonna be wiping the fog off my windows and dealing with sweat.

His 300 mile point was that usually these storms hit FL going from E to W not S to N taking the entite state. Usually you drive 100 miles and you are safe and far from it. Why do you pretend not to get it?

100 miles? Did you really done it? If you live on a barrier island, you may drive 10 miles across bridges to a shelter and be kind of safe. But if you want to drive away from storm area, strong and dangerous hurricanes are wider than 100 miles, and their paths are not exactly known in advance, and hotel reservations are not available in whatever place you want when everybody tries to do the same.

Check historic paths here:
They are just random, may go along the state as well.

So far, all the Teslas that have reported about leaving the Florida area have not had any issues with charging. I cannot say the same about people trying to find gas…

M3 - reserved -- Niro/Leaf 2.0 - TBD

Exactly; a lot easier finding an open charger along the way instead of waiting 1-2 hours for gas 1/2 way to destination.

200mi range – but probably a lot further since traveling in stop/go <35mph traffic where the EV will hugely outperform the chugging ICE.

Your post serves to illustrate how hopelessly biased against EVs you are, even when pretending you have owned four of them!

Here’s a more objective assessment: Both BEVs and gasmobiles have advantages and disadvantages in dealing with widespread weather disasters and their aftermath.

For example, following hurricane Sandy:

Even those [plug-in EV owners] without power to homes have been able to charge elsewhere–rather than queueing hours for gas to find the pumps have run dry.

See: “Assessing Sandy: Are Electric Cars A Better Bet In Emergencies?”


Anybody seriously paranoid about hour long lines for gas from reading too much EV fanboy blogs can buy gas rated tank under hundred bucks at Walmart and fill a week in advance before hurricane, and drive another week on it.

Good luck finding spare 100 kWh battery for $100 and connecting it to your car :/ Most of South Florida is out of power, and who knows how many days later it will be restored.

Clearly you’re just trying to argue pointlessly in order to sabotage any meaningful discussion here. You can’t possibly fail to understand the point that those who live where the power is out can drive their EV to areas with power to charge.

Good luck doing that with a gasmobile in an area where the gas stations are all closed or out of fuel!

I’ll certainly concede that gasmobiles are better for evacuating before a hurricane, so long as you don’t wait so long that the gas stations are out of fuel.

Too bad you’re not willing to concede that BEVs are better in the aftermath. Not theory, but proven fact, as shown in two articles linked in this discussion.

But then, being reasonable would be contrary to your EV bashing agenda, wouldn’t it, Mr. “fool cell” fanboy?

As opposed to waiting in huge lines for gas, or desperately seeking a gas station that even has gas?

It looks like Tesla needs to develop a mobile solar power charger that could act like a tarp for their cars that their owners could take with them.

When the Tesla runs out of fuel and needs to be recharged the owner could then set up the tarp like a tent to take in sunlight.

It won’t produce enough power. And what if it’s cloudy?

The key here would be to find a 240V AC outlet.

Just carry a $500 Honda generator with you on your escape along with a container of gasoline. I’m sure the environment gods will forgive you for saving your life with 2 gallons of gasoline.

Good on Tesla for supporting the evacuees. BUT…

If I pay for a car with a 75kwh battery, I would not then expect to pay extra to unleash its potential! What a mug Off!

Um, okay – but these owners payed for 60kWh; did you read the article?

If it’s capable of 75kwh without being physically modified, then they have paid for a 75kwh battery. The fact it is being restricted in the first place is an insult!

Actually, no it isn’t an insult. They paid for 60kWh knowing that another $2000 would unlock the remaining 15kWh. No, the insult is your implication that some how Tesla is at fault for holding to their end of the bargain and then giving a little more. Bad Tesla, you shouldn’t help people like that.

Think of a fossil-burner; if the manufacturer provided you with a 75 litre tank, and you could upgrade to a 100 litre tank, that would be fine. But that is not the case here. In this case, the fuel tank supplied holds 100 litres, but the manufacturer has restricted it and charged you to fill it further than 75 litres. Luckily, there are plenty of other manufacturers that don’t do this (and that is not communism, it is common sense).

Absolutely agree it is brilliant of Tesla to allow a temporary free OTA upgrade to support the victims of this atrocious natural disaster, but any reasonable person should then ask “If my car is already capable of this, then why can’t it do it already?”.

“If it’s capable of 75kwh without being physically modified, then they have paid for a 75kwh battery.”

No, if they had actually paid for a 75 kWh battery pack, then the extra kWh would already be unlocked.

Sorry if the concept of a “sales incentive” is over your head. Perhaps you live in a communist country, so have never before been exposed to the concept of a sales incentive? 🙄

Think of a fossil-burner; if the manufacturer provided you with a 75 litre tank, and you could upgrade to a 100 litre tank, that would be fine. But that is not the case here. In this case, the fuel tank supplied holds 100 litres, but the manufacturer has restricted it and charged you to fill it further than 75 litres. Luckily, there are plenty of other manufacturers that don’t do this (and that is not communism, it is common sense).

Absolutely agree it is brilliant of Tesla to allow a temporary free OTA upgrade to support the victims of this atrocious natural disaster, but any reasonable person should then ask “If my car is already capable of this, then why can’t it do it already?”.

A reasonable person wouldn’t need to ask. What part of “Because you didn’t pay for it” don’t you understand?

This is as silly as claiming sales of the Tesla Model 3 “don’t count” if they sell them to their own employees!

We really ought to start making a list of all these brain-dead arguments from Tesla bashers and EV bashers. Someday, when the EV revolution has triumphed and everybody but the mentally feeble can see that gasmobiles are obsolete, we’ll be able to look back at these ever more desperate attempts to find anything to criticize Tesla for, and laugh!

Absolutely not an EV basher, far from it. I am massively passionate about EV and think the strides Tesla are making in the field are brilliant. But, assuming that Tesla are not selling their vehicles for a loss, in my mind I am firmly paying for battery capacity that I am unable to use without a premium.

I highly suspect that here, unlike a rational person, I am dealing with a Tesla fanboy who cannot grasp more than one view point. Nasty trolling like this damages the image of EV owners far more than promoting its causes. I am quite glad that the EV community as a whole display a greater degree of emotional intellect when debating a point.

Hopefully when the EV (or Hydrogen… still has benefits in my mind) revolution is complete (I believe it is well and truly in the process of happening) it is recognised as winning by constructive dialogue, not snide comments.

Good thing they did not pay for 75kWh

The dark side to all of this is the lack of electricity for those that did not flee. Or those that did not have to flee. Atlanta just got tropical storm warnings. How many EVs are going to be sitting because they don’t have power for a week, or more, and cannot move?
I am all for EVs, want one myself, but times like these make ya think a bit.

$500 Honda generator and a jug of gas?

Some may also have battery backup…good for thoes planning ahead.

That would definitely work, at least on the internet where everything is simple. I do reckon one could derive that living in Florida, there is a higher chance of having a generator in the garage. That scenario isn’t exactly commonplace everywhere else.

Maybe they could charge to 100% before the storm? If they have a 50 mile commute, that’s their problem. Actually, I live near Atlanta we have excellent electrical repairs. Our EMC has out of state help already in place.

Also, a gas station may have 5000 gallons in their tanks, but no electricity, can’t pump it out. I don’t know of any stations that have generators.

Did not know. Made me wish for the old style hand pump models with the glass globe on top. No electricity needed.

“How many EVs are going to be sitting because they don’t have power for a week, or more, and cannot move?”

How many gasmobiles are going to be unusable for days or weeks, out of gas in areas where the gas stations are closed or out of fuel?

In the meantime, many plug-in EVs will be driven to areas with power to recharge, even if their owners live where the power is out, just as happened after hurricane Sandy.

See: “Assessing Sandy: Are Electric Cars A Better Bet In Emergencies?”

which brings me back to one of my biggest gripes about tesla (or at least elon musk) and their not being any more altruistic than other EV producers; they can afford to let 75kw batteries go at the cost of 60.

or like Obmama before him space exploration — things like satellite launches are arguably necessary, space exploration / moon and mars trips however are not. especially when factoring in the substantial amounts of pollution generated. and an obvious otherworldly focus while ours is still by all means f****d on multiple levels is irresponsible. much like a focus on autonomy while electrification is a far more important endeavour.

but probably par for the course with a guy who thinks we’re living in the matrix. just a shame he’s not in more of a rush to prevent our own matrix-esque apocalypse.

Remember the price of a product isn’t just the cost of materials. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if it is actually better for their bottom line in the long run. I really hope so, because thousands of prople and other business depend on Tesla staying in business. Do you want Tesla to lower the price and maybe go under because of it?

What a wonderful thing for Tesla to do! This is an example of how a young and nimble company can react quickly in the way that an old established hide-bound company never would even if it had the technical ability.

Only a Tesla hater who “doesn’t know Jack” would try to spin this as a negative thing.

Go Tesla!

This just points out what we all knew all along. There is no known technology/method that can store electricity in a large abundance. A powerplant has to run constantly to provide electricity. No amount of available powerwall is going to be enough to supply energy like a fossil fuel. There is no comparison.

The only way to use an electric car is to use it as a secondary car. So if you’re rich enough, to own a few cars, one of the car can be this eco-friendly one. AND, this will not be the car to take away in a natural disaster scenario.

Even renewable energy to many levels is very vulnerable to any form of natural disaster. They usually have a very large area footprint and is very location specific. So I doubt our lives will ever break free from nuclear and fossil fuel.

Of course, future break-through tech could invalid my statements… but until then.

I think this is actually double edged sword..

On one hand, it is great that Tesla cares about its owners and can give this update via air. On the other hand, it shows that some of its models still have “range limitation” issues that “needed help” at the last minute.