Web site helps electric car drivers evacuate Florence, Tesla extends range


BMW ActiveE electric car at closed NJ gas station after Hurricane Sandy [photo: Tom Moloughney]

BMW ActiveE electric car at closed NJ gas station after Hurricane Sandy [photo: Tom Moloughney]

Efforts have begun to help North and South Carolina  and Virginia residents who drive electric cars to evacuate Hurricane Florence.

Mass evacuations, as well as hurricanes, pose a special challenge for electric cars.

Older models still have relatively short ranges, and may require multiple recharges to get far enough away from a hurricane the size of Florence.

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With more than a million people under evacuation orders, chargers on roads leading away from the storm could be overcrowded. Increasing winds and rain then run the risk of rendering many of those chargers inoperable.

Baltimore, Maryland electric car activist Lanny Hartmann has dedicated a portion of his electric-car website, PlugInSites.org to helping evacuees who drive electric cars until the storm passes.

The site includes storm advisories, news reports, reports of places evacuees can stay, as well as special designed to help electric-car driving evacuees.

For example, on Wednesday, the site reported that Tesla is extending the range of short-range Model Ses and Model Xes in the storm's path to help owners evacuate with as little need to charge as possible. It will also enable Supercharging for some cars that currently can't access it.

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Tesla pushed a message to the cars saying, "We are temporarily enabling your car to access additional battery capacity, as well as free Supercharging, in preparation for Hurricane Florence. We hope that this gives you the peace of mind to get to a safe location, and will notify you before returning your car to its original configuration in mid-October. Badging on your display may adjust during this period. Safe travels!"

Pluginsites.org will be updated with more information about charger availability and routes, and other EV specific advice as the storm draws closer and more information becomes available.

 
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