First it was the BMW heated seat subscription fiasco, and now this: Mercedes is poised to introduce an online subscription fee of $1,200 (£992) per year in the US for customers who want to unlock faster acceleration in its electric cars.
The acceleration subscription will be available to purchase on its Mercedes-EQ EQE 350 and EQS 450 cars, along with the SUV versions of these cars. The feature will electronically increase the power output and torque of the car’s motor with no hardware upgrade required.
This will equate to a 20 to 24% increase in output, and decreases the standard 0-60mph time of the Mercedes-EQ 350 SUV, for example, from 6.2 seconds to 5.2.
Just like with the controversial BMW heated seats subscription, customers will essentially be paying extra to ‘unlock’ something already included with the car from the factory. If the car’s electric motor hardware is already capable of a higher output, drivers are essentially being asked to fork out to remove software limiters through a paywall.
A few months ago, New Jersey legislators announced they wanted to make the practice of charging for hardware already installed in cars illegal, unless the manufacturer could prove a feature required ongoing costs to maintain. For example, paying to keep sat nav systems accurate or for services like Onstar which employ real operators in call centres.
In a report by the BBC, Mercedes has confirmed that it currently has no plans to introduce the acceleration subscription in the UK. Yeah… Right. We an only imagine the brand is trialling the subscription to see how popular it is with owners in the US before it rolls it out for other territories.