Elon Musk Magically Extends Battery Life Of Teslas Fleeing Irma

Tyler Durden's picture

In what is either a generous act of charity or an unnerving example of the control Tesla exercises over the vehicles it producers, or perhaps both, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has magically unlocked the batteries of every Tesla in Florida to maximize the distance that people fleeing from Hurricane Irma can travel before stopping to refuel at one of the company’s “superstation” charging centers.

Typically, these types of over-the-air upgrades can cost thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars.

But Musk is temporarily offering full battery capacity to all owners of Model S/X 60/60D vehicles with 75 kilo watt battery packs, according to Electrek, a blog that covers electric vehicles.

The upgrade will surely help Floridians who are still rushing to escape as the now category 3 storm makes its second landfall near Naples. The upgrade will last through Saturday.

As a Tesla spokesperson explained to Electrek, the company decided on the mass-unlocking strategy after a customer called and asked if the company could upgrade his battery because he was trying to flee the storm. Tesla’s Supercharger network is fairly extensive in Florida and most owners should be able to get by even with a Model S 60 (the shortest range option).

A Tesla Model S 60 owner in Florida told Electrek that his Tesla was getting 40 more miles without a charge after Tesla had temporarily unlocked the remaining 15 kilo watts of the car’s software-limited battery pack.

“The company says that a Tesla owner in a mandatory evacuation zone required another ~30 more miles of range to optimize his evacuation route in the traffic and they reached out to Tesla who agreed to a temporary access to the full 75 kWh of energy in the battery pack, an upgrade that has cost between $4,500 and $9,000 depending on the model and time of upgrade.”

The company also decided to temporarily unlock other vehicles with the same software-lock battery packs in the region.

Tesla’s supercharger network is fairly extensive in Florida and most owners should be able to get by even with a Model S 60 (the shortest range option), but sometimes that 30 more miles of range can make a big difference.

Most of the supercharger stations in the state are still open:

Though a handful in the affected area have closed...


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
balz's picture

Why can't you get the full juice at first anyway?

Milton Keynes's picture

The Tesla ModelS 60 is a software downgrade from the Model S 80.


It's cheaper to make the same battery and increase lifespan for the 60 customers and sell them a software upgrade later.



HowdyDoody's picture

Just like IBM hardware upgrades. The engineer would come along (pre internet of course) and reconfigure some links, and bingo, extra performance for a big fee.


YUNOSELL's picture

That should be illegal -- He should be charged with Assault on Battery

TwelveOhOne's picture

Apparently, this one only goes to 11 on corporate command.

IH8OBAMA's picture

I always thought that Musk was bi-polar or AC/DC or something.


JRobby's picture

Why would anyone buy one of these cars?

"Well, All my neighbors have one "

ET's picture

Lithium ion batteries can have more discharge cycles when operating between 40% and 80% of full charge.

Mid-cycle discharges, generally between 40% and 65%, can more than triple the number of discharge cycles of a lithium ion battery.

When not using a device for long periods, charge to 50% before storing it in a cool location. Recharge to 50% every month or two.

Rarely keep a device at 100% charge unless you will not have access to a charger for a long while. Keeping a battery fully discharged will also add to battery wear.

FixItAgainTony's picture

Bare with me, if I understand this right, what you are saying is, "this is magic."

PT's picture

No, he said you can have 25% extra power from your nuclear reactors but they will sustain 50% damage.  Ooops!  Sorry, I was playing Command and Conquer Generals again.

He is probably right but does that mean that those who pay more pay to wear out their batteries faster???

greenskeeper carl's picture

You get more cycles this way if you don't discharge the battery further. Sounds to me like this just allows you to discharge the battery a little further. I can't imagine the rage  I would feel if i was stuck on the side of the road, knowing I had another 15k of power just sitting there, inaccessable to me unless i give this little fuckweasel more money. This wouldn't happen to me though, as Id never buy one of those cars.

HenryKissingerZuckerberg's picture

since TESLA is a "not for profit DOD startup" ... (like Amazon).

they can afford to burn the batteries faster for PR purposes

jcaz's picture

So......  What's to stop Elon from dialing down your range from 300 miles to 85 miles the day after your warranty expires?

Also- yeah, I'm sure this whole thing is unhackable- after all, who would want to jump in and dial everyone's range down to 1 mile just for kicks?

Watch when you miss a payment-  the next day your range goes to zero.

Better yet-  the car self-drives itself back to Elon when you miss a payment.

Gonna happen.

boattrash's picture

Tesla's shit sounds like a scheme that would make VW envious.

Big Daddy's picture

Every dude who ran out of gas was already there with the rage...  just different controlling entities

New_Meat's picture

If you were a cute girl, I might want to bare with you.

CvlDobd's picture

Wow! I only had to read about 25 comments before one with an actual fact showed up. Kudos to you for being a ZeroHedge member with a brain.


If this were reversed and Tesla didn't use software to protect the life of the battery, everyone on ZH would be up in arms about Tesla screwing over the customers by wearing out a battery unneccessarily. I agree TSLA accounting is shaky at best, but camping out on the luddite side of the technology seems bereft of logic.


I remember reading ZeroHedge in 2009 and 2010 with great charts, financial analysis and usually insightful comments. Now, like everything else in the world, the comments section resembles a moron infested hellscape. Use the red arrow to the left, thanks.

layman_please's picture

Couldn't agree more, unfortunately.

dumluk's picture

The laws of entropy never sleep.........

Spinkter's picture

If you fully discharge a lithium ion, good luck getting it back.

JackT's picture

I wonder if they will be downgraded after the hurricane?

ET's picture

Lithium ion batteries degrade faster when kept at high voltage (fully charged).

The limit was to reduce premature battery wear.

True Blue's picture

This had nothing to do with the "full" charge; but allowed customers to get the last 20% or so stored within the batteries, which apparently you are "locked out" of unless you pay Elon another $7K.

ET's picture

Completely discharging a lithium ion battery will also lead to premature wear.

If you want to learn more about lithium batteries, check out this site.



Most Li-ions charge to 4.20V/cell, and every reduction in peak charge voltage of 0.10V/cell is said to double the cycle life. For example, a lithium-ion cell charged to 4.20V/cell typically delivers 300–500 cycles. If charged to only 4.10V/cell, the life can be prolonged to 600–1,000 cycles; 4.0V/cell should deliver 1,200–2,000 and 3.90V/cell should provide 2,400–4,000 cycles.

On the negative side, a lower peak charge voltage reduces the capacity the battery stores. As a simple guideline, every 70mV reduction in charge voltage lowers the overall capacity by 10 percent. Applying the peak charge voltage on a subsequent charge will restore the full capacity.

In terms of longevity, the optimal charge voltage is 3.92V/cell. Battery experts believe that this threshold eliminates all voltage-related stresses; going lower may not gain further benefits but induce other symptoms. (See BU-808b: What causes Li-ion to die?) Table 4 summarizes the capacity as a function of charge levels. (All values are estimated; Energy Cells with higher voltage thresholds may deviate.)

Jimmy Jimmereeno's picture

Lithium batteries that I own (not in a Tesla) come with documentation that says - I paraphrase - discharge battery to maximum or near maximum discharge for best battery functioning.

True Blue's picture

Point being that A) it had nothing to do with the 'full' state or increasing the charge capacity and B) increased wear and maintainance doesn't seem to be an issue at all if you're willing to grease Elon's pockets with an additional $7K, and the entire difference in two 'models' of his cars is a software change that allows you to use the full charge of the battery.

jin187's picture

Completely discharging Lion batteries doesn't just increase wear, it causes catastrophic failure. Discharging to below 2-2.5V causes too much of the material inside to be converted, and can result in an internal short when recharged. Internal shorting doesn't simply cause the battery to fail, but possibly explode while charging.

In other words, while the "upgrade" may be a scam, software not letting you discharge the batteries completely is a safety feature. I'm sure Musk would love to charge people 5-10k for new batteries because they didn't charge them properly, but he doesn't want Teslas sitting in people garage to burn down their house because of it.

TheRideNeverEnds's picture

Of course they will be downgraded after the hurricane unless they pay the 10,000$ "upgrade" fee to have the software limiter removed.

Stuck on Zero's picture

There's a secret code to unlock a little power for your cell phone in an emergency, too.

Sudden Debt's picture

The average CPU is 10 times faster then what your computer makes you believe.

Every year, they unlock some of that performance and call it "THE NEW MODEL!"


In a way, it's really logical and companies don't need to have new machines every time there's a new model.

And you paid for what you get. I don't see the problem.

The only problem is that people WANT a new model every year.

So that's what you get. You don't show all your cards with every product launch.

You call it "unfair" because you want it for free but you you bought it for the first product details and where satisfied with it.


SURE! I WOULD LIKE A PC TO THAT'S 10 TIMES FASTER! But it would destroy all the companies involved if they unlocked it. And you can't just unlock it because there are safeties build into it

Pendolino's picture

"The average CPU is 10 times faster then what your computer makes you believe."

Please provide proof of this statement.

MANvsMACHINE's picture

He said it. Isn't that proof enough?!?

Pendolino's picture

Well it obviously was for the guy that downvoted me for having the temerity to ask. Unless of course ....

algol_dog's picture

I up-voted purposely to block the down-vote. All is on equal footing now ....

Pendolino's picture

So if I up-vote you does that bollox the whole thing up again? I'm no good with this ying and yang stuff.

GrokMarkets's picture

How many up-votes does it take to unlock my processor's full power?

LittleGreenMan's picture

First you have to send an email to all of your friends telling them that Bill Gates will unlock the full power of their computers IF your email reaches 100,000 forwards.

Pendolino's picture

Thanks for the advice. After 30 years as a software engineer and 10 years running a computer maintenance company I really needed you to say that. Please give me precise instructions on how to overclock a CPU by 10 times, I'm keen to learn from your undoubted wisdom. I'm assuming I'll be needing some sort of cryogenic cooling system...

HopefulCynic's picture

Doubtfull there is any cooling system that can help your chip withstand the internal heat so much juice would provide. It would be fried by the time you try and get to 2x the processing power output. 

Pendolino's picture

I should probably used <sarc></sarc> around the appropriate parts to make it easy for everyone.

sleigher's picture

What he said is somewhat true.  When Intel builds CPU's they are all the best one.  If during the test cycle it doesn't perform 100% then it gets tagged as the slightly lower model.  


i7 becomes and i5 or whatever.  

jin187's picture

It's the same with batteries as well. There are only a handful of manufacturers of batteries, and even fewer high performance ones. Any batteries you see with generic names, like the ones that come prepackaged with electronics such as remote controls, are just batteries that failed to meet the standards of the brand names you see on store shelves, and were sold in bulk to off-brand resellers.

mstyle's picture

So when I'm overclocking it and liquid cooling it you are trying to tell me there is a bunch of spare cores available I don't know about?


cheech_wizard's picture

Bzzzzt. Thanks for playing... But wrong.

Remember me, that engineer that worked on microprocessors for Intergraph, SUN, AMD, and Qualcomm (ARM architecture truly does suck, btw...)?

The one time and only one time I saw a 10x improvement in speed was when Intergraph basically put the damn processor in a vat of liquid nitrogen.

Now, AMD does/did throttle back on their fpu performance which can be changed by writing a different value to a register. The thing is, it doesn't give you 10x the fpu processing power, more like 1.2x, the only problem is that if you make the change about 90+% of the processors roll over and start giving you the wrong answers for your calculations or you start to get floating point errors...(typical problems when you go to fast... race conditions. timing.)

Now there is a small bit of truth to your statement...(and AMD completely blew their chance at knocking Intel out of the market forever...) AMD in their early days, developed a processor that was at least 5x the speed of anything Intel had at the time. AMD thought it would be bad for their business if they jumped so far out ahead of Intel, so they ended up selling it at a speed 1.2 to 1.5x what Intel currently had on the market at the time.



FixItAgainTony's picture

There is some truth to the "software upgrade hardware" rumor as some marketing genius at Intel pitched customers to pay for threads/cache unlock on certain sku'd CPUs circa 2010 with a keyed microcode update:

Similarly, a tiny trace on the 486DX was cut to make it lose FPU capability as that was cheaper than reshooting the entire mask for the cheaper 486SX (though they were too upstanding at that time to implement a software enabler to DX).

Seeing Red's picture

That's not a 10X difference in your examples.

FixItAgainTony's picture

Depends on how cache and thread dependent your task is. For example, virtual machine hypervisor.