Mercedes-Benz has revealed plans to offer an annual subscription fee of $1,200 (plus tax) to owners of its electric EQ models. The fee lets car owners unlock additional power, quicker acceleration, and more.
The science and other stuff to know
The practice of automakers instituting subscription fees for on-demand add-on features in luxury vehicles is becoming a trend. Just recently, BMW offered a subscription feature for heated seats. And Mercedes-Benz is the latest to lock auto features behind a subscription fee.
The company has unveiled its plans to charge an annual $1,200 fee for more power and quicker acceleration in its new Mercedes-EQ EQE 350 and EQS 450 models, as well as their SUV counterparts.
What does the $1,200 annual subscription add-on feature get you? According to the Mercedes U.S. website, the yearly subscription improves performance by boosting output from the motors by 20–24 percent as well as increasing torque. It’ll also allow the vehicles to go from 0 to 60 mph in about 5.2 seconds, as opposed to 6.2 seconds without the subscription. Along with more torque, the EQE350 models gain 60 horsepower, and the EQS450 adds 87 horsepower.
Despite the hype, the add-on feature will only be available in the U.S. Here are the models the acceleration subscription is available on and what sort of power gains they get:
- Mercedes-EQ EQE 350 4MATIC (from 288 horsepower to 349 horsepower/0-60 mph from 6.0 to 5.1 seconds)
- Mercedes-EQ EQE SUV 350 4MATIC (from 288 horsepower to 349 horsepower/0-60 mph from 6.2 to 5.2 seconds)
- Mercedes-EQ EQS 450 4MATIC (from 355 horsepower to 443 horsepower/0-60 mph from 5.3 to 4.5 seconds)
- Mercedes-EQ EQS SUV 4MATIC (from 355 horsepower to 443 horsepower/0-60 mph from 5.8 to 4.9 seconds)
In large part, this is a result of more and more new cars using technology that enables over-the-air updates. And while this trend has faced lots of backlash from consumers in the past, it comes with a few perks. For one, it allows automakers to streamline manufacturing by making cars to more uniform specifications. It also offers a recurring revenue stream for the car company for years after the initial purchase. Additionally, it can build brand loyalty.
Whether car shoppers will appreciate Mercedes-Benz’s new add-on features or not, only time will tell. In 2019, BMW had to abandon its plan to charge $80 per year for Apple CarPlay after widespread pushback.