Mercedes has introduced an “Acceleration Increase” add-on that allows owners to pay for unlocking the maximum speed capability of their vehicle, highlighting another instance of automakers charging subscription fees for access to certain features. By paying $1,200 per year, the subscription unlocks all the capabilities of the vehicle, allowing for an increase in motor output by 20-24%, torque, and a decrease in acceleration time from 0-60 mph by 0.8-0.9 seconds in Dynamic drive mode, resulting in a significant boost in performance. However, this feature is available only for Mercedes-EQ EQE and EQS electric cars. The move by Mercedes is part of a growing trend among automakers to rely on subscription-based revenue models as new car sales decrease globally.
The practice of limiting the capabilities of a vehicle that already comes with factory-equipped hardware is a deplorable trend, especially for performance features like this one. While it may make sense for software-specific offerings, such as advanced navigation features or remote vehicle monitoring, it is unacceptable for features that should be included with the vehicle purchase. BMW has also recently introduced paywalls for services like heated seats, which require a monthly fee of $18 in some regions, and attempted to charge customers $80 per year for access to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a feature offered for free by other vehicle manufacturers.