With Florence bearing down, Tesla remotely extends some cars’ batteries

(Source: arstechnica.com)

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With Hurricane Florence bearing down on the East Coast, Tesla has temporarily given some customers extended battery range using a software update, Electrek reports.

“We are temporarily enabling your car to access additional battery capacity, as well as free Supercharging, in preparation for Hurrican[e] Florence,” a notice inside some customers’ cars says.

Tesla did the same thing last year as Hurricane Irma was bearing down on the coast of Florida. Tesla is able to do this because it shipped some Model X and Model S cars with 75kWh batteries to customers who had only paid for the 60kWh version of the vehicle. The extra capacity was locked in software, with customers having the option to pay to unlock it.

Tesla shipped cars this way because making fewer battery pack types improved the efficiency of Tesla’s manufacturing output. It also provided an opportunity to upsell customers on the more expensive battery option. Tesla originally charged $9,000 for the aftermarket upgrade but has since lowered the price to $2,000—after discontinuing the 60kWh versions of the Model S and Model X.

Tesla is more aggressive than other car companies about using over-the-air software updates to modify the behavior of cars in the field. For example, when Consumer Reports faulted the Model 3 for inconsistent braking performance earlier this year, Tesla responded by pushing out an update, just days later, to fix the issues Consumer Reports identified.

Not only do most of Tesla’s competitors have more conservative engineering cultures than Tesla does, but many have also been hobbled by contracts guaranteeing dealerships a role in the update process.

The software battery lock will be put back in place in mid-October, according to the notification reported by Electrek.

More Info: arstechnica.com

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