Tesla extends battery range of some cars to help Irma-affected car owners

Tesla has released a temporary software update that will extend the battery range of certain Model S and Model X cars for owners in the path of Hurricane Irma. The extension will see Model S and Model X vehicles with 60 kwh battery packs, expand to 75kwh capacity.

The move became possible as the two models actually shipped with 75 kwh batteries that were software-downgraded to 60kwh. The models were removed from Tesla's lineup earlier this year. TechCrunch, reported that the extra capacity should amount to an extra 30 miles which could be enough to help get a driver to safety.

The change, which was made rather quietly, first came to the notice of Tesla owners on Reddit. Another owner pointed out that Tesla said the upgrade will be effective through 16 September.

According to commentators, the move is both characteristically canny PR by Tesla, and something that could help customers. They  point out one downside to driving electric: with less widespread infrastructure, Tesla drivers could be more likely to see crucial superchargers offline or overcrowded during emergencies.

However, Irma had also disproved the argument for sticking with gasoline, as drivers of internal-combustion engines were experiencing widespread fuel shortages in the evacuation zone.

According to commentators, Tesla decided to take action after the Florida-based owner of one of its cars contacted the company and asked for a temporary upgrade to make it out of the evacuation zone.

Over six million people were ordered to evacuate their homes over the weekend, before Hurricane Irma hit Florida Keys.

Many said that it was very difficult to leave the area due to traffic jams, expensive flights and empty petrol stations.

The storm had earlier hit Caribbean islands and taken a toll of 23 lives.