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Tesla helps customers flee Hurricane Irma in Florida by extending battery life of electric cars

Tesla shares rose as market participants said the company looks set to receive a boost from a possible China ban on diesel and petrol vehicles
Hurricane Irma killed about 23 people in the Caribbean islands before reaching Florida

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) has provided customers fleeing Hurricane Irma with a free software update that extends the battery capacity of their electric vehicles.

The temporary update added around 30 to 40 miles to the driving range of the 75-kilowatt-hour Model S sedans and Model X SUVs.

“Cars with a 75-kilowatt-hour battery pack were previously software limited to 210 miles of driving range per single charge and will now get 249 miles, the full range capacity of the battery,” the company wrote on a blog.

The emergency measure came after a Florida-based customer requested a temporary upgrade to help flee Hurricane Irma.

People were ordered to evacuate their homes before the hurricane hit Florida Keys on Sunday but many reported troubles with leaving the area due to traffic jams, empty petrol stations and expensive flights.

Before reaching Florida, the hurricane had devastated 10 Caribbean countries and territories, killing about 23 people.

Tesla introduced its cheaper Model X and Model S vehicles last year with an 75 KWH battery that was software locked to use 80% of that available power. Drivers could unlock extra battery capacity with an update for an extra US$3,000.

Tesla rallies on report China will ban petrol and diesel cars

Meanwhile, Tesla shares received a boost after a report of a possible China ban on the production and sale of diesel and petrol cars and vans.

China, the world’s largest auto market, has started research but is yet to decide a date for the ban, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.

"Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry's development," the country's vice minister of industry, Xin Guobin, told Xinhua.

Fortune’s David Z. Morris said Telsa could be a big winner in this development as it makes headway in the Chinse market with the rolling out its lower priced Model 3 sedan.

Bloomberg reported that nearly 80% of the global auto market is now looking to phase out petroleum cars and adopt electric vehicles.

The UK and France have vowed to ban the sale of new gasoline and diesel cars by 2040.

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