By Richard Lawler, engadget.com
Hurricane Florence is approaching the East Coast of the US, and is predicted to bring with it catastrophic flooding, high winds, as well as a life-threatening storm surge and rain in North and South Carolina. As a result, both GM and Tesla have remotely activated features in their cars that could be of use in an evacuation.
As it did last year prior to Hurricane Irma, Tesla has temporarily activated Supercharging on older cars that didn’t have it enabled when they were purchased, and unlocked extra battery capacity on certain vehicles (Model S and X cars that only purchased 60kWh but have 75kWh batteries). A Tesla owner’s club for the “Triangle” region has collected relevant info for potential evacuees, and said that owners should see a notification on their screen about the change.
For GM, it has activated OnStar Crisis Assist for owners of Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles with the feature built-in. Its representatives will handle overflow calls to the Red Cross, while pressing the button in the car will give access to people who can help with the following:
Real-time routing information for those needing to evacuate or navigate disaster zones
Assistance locating vital resources like hotels, gas, food, water or medical supplies
Complimentary Hands Free Calling minutes in order to connect with loved ones
Wi-Fi, if downloaded to the vehicle, to keep people connected and informed during the storm
First responder communication so they can help locate vehicles and assist before arriving
National Hurricane Center