Mercedes-Benz is to offer an online subscription service in the US to make its electric cars accelerate quicker.
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.
All told, it estimates these amounts to a 20–24% increase in output, allowing a Mercedes-Benz EQ 350 SUV to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.2 seconds, as opposed to 6.2 seconds without the subscription.
As per a report by the BBC, Mercedes has confirmed that it will be charging users a sum of $1200 (about Rs 97,878) every year for their cars to be faster. The fee would allow users to accelerate faster and reduce the time required for the car to go from 0 to 60 mph in a second.
Mercedes has not announced when the feature will go live.
"Mercedes is asking you to pay for hardware that has already been installed in the car – and on which it presumably made a profit margin when you purchased the car."
This is not the first time that car manufacturers are implementing software-based locks for features unless users pay an additional fee.
Toyota, meanwhile, announced that it would charge customers $8 (Rs 652) per month to enable a feature that allows them to start their cars remotely without a key.
The one thing common among all these car manufacturer decisions is that these are all software blocks on abilities that the car is otherwise already capable of doing.
What are these new subscription models?
Subscription models are not particularly bad. There are services where the subscription model is necessary. When you pay a monthly fee for your phone service, you’re paying for the maintenance of all the cellular towers and other components involved in keeping the network running.
Similarly, when you pay for Netflix or some other OTT platform, you pay for the continuous creation and addition (or both) of new content. The same logic works for your gas bill, water bill, and other subscription models that you have been a part of for years.
Since the components used in the car to provide heated seats and quicker speeds are a one-time addition from the company, it is unfair that customers have to pay additional money.
Many people have spoken out against the Mercedes "feature," and consumer dissatisfaction with a subscription model for what should be one-time purchases has increased since the move.
Tesla introduced "Acceleration Boost" in 2019, which allows Model 3 vehicles to accelerate from 0-60 mph half a second faster for a $2,000 one-time fee.
The Acceleration Increase subscription is listed as "coming soon" on the US Mercedes storefront, with no exact date given for its release.