With dry weather and windy conditions on the horizon, California's Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) utility is planning a mass power outage to prevent electricity lines from sparking wildfires as happened last year in the devastating Paradise wildfire. Some 800,000 Californians could be without power by the end of the day. That could be bad news for electric vehicle owners, so Tesla is taking a proactive approach. The company issued an in-car alert warning owners to charge their vehicles fully ahead of the outage. Tesla is also activating the 'Storm Watch' feature on its PowerWall to store excess electricity before the lights go out.
Tesla and other EV owners don't usually charge their vehicles to 100 percent daily in order to improve the longevity of their battery packs. But doing so will help extend their range during the power outage.
It's quick thinking on Tesla's part to use its onboard information system to alert all owners in the impacted areas, and we've seen the company take similar action during hurricanes. In all likelihood the power outages won't have too much of an impact on Tesla owners. For most, a full charge will last a few days, but the fact that Tesla is thinking ahead sets an example for other EV manufacturers.
Tesla is looking out for homeowners, too. Its PowerWall —a residential battery pack that stores excess energy — will activate Storm Watch. It will charge fully ahead of the outages, so that users have a backup power supply. Both Storm Watch and the EV alert prove Tesla's resiliency features can help users through all kinds of unexpected events, not just hurricanes.