Tesla Supercharger site in Newburgh, New York, up and running - June 2015
As it did in Hurricane Irma in Florida last year, Tesla has remotely extended the range of some cars for those who need to escape from the path of Hurricane Florence and may not have time charge up more than necessary.
The company has also expanded free Supercharging access for cars that didn't come with it.
In any natural disaster situation like this, our policy is to make Superchargers free of use in order to optimize evacuation routes for affected customers https://t.co/SOUlKv3UUZ— Tesla (@Tesla) September 13, 2018
Some Tesla Model S's and X's purchased with shorter-range battery options actually have larger batteries that have their capacity restricted to the original purchase spec (and more reserve capacity). It is this reserve capacity that Tesla is allowing drivers to tap into to flee Hurricane Florence.
While most Model S's and X's have come with free Supercharging, Tesla nominally ended the program at the beginning of 2017, and some cars bought used after that may not have access to free Supercharging.
Model 3's also don't come with unlimited Supercharging access, although many Model 3 owners who have been referred by existing Tesla customers still have access.
For what is likely a minority who don't and who live in areas under evacuation orders, Tesla is granting access through mid-October, perhaps anticipating that it may take owners a few weeks to get home after a severe storm.
Teslas are connected wirelessly to company servers, so Tesla can push software updates to the cars remotely, including code that activates Supercharging and controls the amount of battery the cars can use.
Tesla says enabling such features in the wake of natural disasters is standard company policy.