Over-the-air updates have made it easy for automakers to add features and make fixes to certain vehicle systems remotely. At the same time, the increased connectivity has made it possible or some automakers to withhold features and restrict access to added-cost subscription packages. Mercedes-Benz EV buyers are the latest group to face such frustrations, as the automaker is offering subscription-based “Acceleration Increase” services for all new EQ models.
The Drive reported that EQ owners could upgrade their vehicles with a $1,200/year Acceleration Increase package. Mercedes says the package brings quicker acceleration and an improvement in torque output. Depending on the model, the output can increase by as much as 24%. The EQE 350 4Matic SUV sees the most dramatic drop in acceleration times, moving from a 6.2-second 0-60 mph time to a 5.2-second run. Even the large EQS SUV drops from 5.8 seconds to 4.5 seconds.
Those are more than respectable performance gains, but as a buyer, it’d be hard not to wonder why the car didn’t just do those things to begin with. The hardware is already in place, so it’s not like Mercedes has to do anything to make the vehicles quicker. At the same time, these sorts of schemes are almost universally unpopular, and not just with journalists or people with large social media followings.
BMW offers heated seats, a heated steering wheel, and dash cam features for monthly or one-time fees. It had previously rolled back plans to charge owners a subscription fee for Apple CarPlay. Earlier this year, lawmakers in New Jersey started the process of introducing legislation banning vehicle subscription services. The bill prohibits automakers and dealers from charging fees for the hardware already installed in vehicles.
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