In the wake of Hurricane Irma, Tesla sent out an over-the-air software update that allowed Model S/X 60D drivers to extend their 75 kWh battery range from 210 to 249 miles. Tesla issued the update to help drivers flee from the hurricane, and apparently the company is allowing its drivers to enjoy the extended range through the end of the month.
Tesla drivers in South Florida received a notification from explaining that they would be able to continue using the 249-mile battery capacity until Oct. 1, according to a post from Ludachris9000 on the Tesla Subreddit.
“With the passing of Hurricane Irma, our thoughts are with you, your fellow Tesla drivers and all those affected by the storm,” the notification reads. “So that you may focus on what’s most important to you, we will return your vehicle’s battery to its original capacity on Oct. 1.”
The extended battery range is likely in response to the storm’s aftermath as well as the potential for more hurricanes in the near future.
Ludachris9000 was among the first to question the battery update once it was issued roughly two weeks ago.
“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.
Despite Tesla’s efforts to provide a beneficial upgrade for those who may have really needed it, many were bothered by Tesla’s decision. In the past, it was assumed that the vehicle range was the direct result of the battery size.
By providing an over-the-air range upgrade, Tesla conceded that the battery size in the Model S/X 60D is not what’s holding the vehicle back from better range. Instead, software prohibits that model from extending its range.
The unlockable battery upgrade was one of several features that could be enabled through a Tesla over-the-air software update. The program was designed to minimize the price barrier of entry by allowing buyers to pay less up front and have the option to upgrade at a later time through an in-car purchase.
While some Redditors were excited to have increased range through the end of the month, others were less than pleased.
BraveRock, a Reddit user, said “Tesla you just lost yourself a customer in AZ. I will never buy a car that is no longer offered by you!”
The user also linked to a separate thread by Arizona-Willie, which details the extent of Tesla’s ethical dilemma.
“Tesla is a very unethical company that rips off customers,” Redditor Arizona-Willie said. “They charge $7,000 dollars more if you want the maximum [battery] capacity. Most people presume it is a bigger battery and they were willing to pay for a bigger battery. NOT TRUE it’s the same damn battery but partially disconnected via software. All it takes is a software command to connect the entire battery and give you the full capacity.”
Despite the continued discussion, Tesla drivers in South Florida still get to enjoy the extended range until October.