A subscription fee to allow cars to reach their top acceleration is Mercedes-Benz’s latest brilliant new idea.
The Mercedes-EQ EQE 350, Mercedes-Benz’s newest electric car, is capable of going from 0-60 MPH in about 5.2 seconds, according to the company’s online store. But without a $1,200/year subscription fee, the vehicle will be artificially limited to going 0-60 in a paltry 6.2 seconds.
According to their U.S. website, it’s the other way around: the subscription fee will “electronically increase” the output and torque of the car’s electric motor, but it’s plain that if it’s physically capable of the higher output, it’s throttled for those who don’t pay, not increased for those who do.
“Mercedes is asking you to pay for hardware it has already installed in the car – and which it presumably already made a profit margin on when you bought the car,” said Jack McKeown, president of the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers.
“Trying to leverage even more profit out of subscription services is a worrying trend,” added McKeown, putting his finger on the heart of the consumer backlash against this new business decision.
Mercedes-Benz isn’t the first car manufacturer to make this choice. Earlier this year, BMW made heated seats a subscription feature, though they rolled it back under consumer pressure. Toyota has announced plans to make drivers pay $8 a month for key fob remote starting. The market is already accepting of software tiers available to subscribers, such as Tesla and Audi’s various self-driving features, but these are physical features inherent in the car being locked away from those who don’t want to continue paying an annual fee for what they already own.
The subscription, which is labeled as “Acceleration Increase” on the U.S. Mercedes online storefront, is still listed as “coming soon” with no exact release date.
Hopefully, the market response will be to vote with their dollars, and no one will buy these cars until that feature is taken off the table.
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