Tesla isn’t the only automaker that wants you to pay more to unlock your vehicle’s current capabilities. Mercedes-Benz has announced a $1,200-per-year “Acceleration Increase” subscription that boosts the performance of the EQE and EQS sedan and SUV models. If you pay the yearly subscription, your 0-60MPH time will improve by 0.8 to 1 second due to improved peak engine power and torque.
Mercedes is eager to point out that this is just a software update. In other words, you’re paying for performance that your automobile already has. While you are still receiving better value than BMW’s $18 per month heated seats, it is an unusual decision given that these vehicles are already pricey and offer faster variants that need just a one-time investment. Why purchase an EQS 450 with acceleration when an EQS 580 will be quicker and come with additional creature comforts?
The German manufacturer is hardly the first to charge a premium for increased performance. Tesla has traditionally required users to pay for its most sophisticated driving assistance features. For a while, it also paid a premium to entry-level Model S owners to unlock battery capacity. If you like motorbikes, Zero charges roughly $1,800 to optimize the power of the 2022 SR. The difference, of course, is that they are still one-time purchases which Mercedes expects you to continue paying throughout the life of the vehicle.
The business plan is obvious. Mercedes, like the rest of the tech industry, is looking for a regular stream of cash from consumers who might otherwise spend little after the initial purchase. Acceleration Increase is much more profitable than routine navigation upgrades and maintenance. Unlike them, however, there are no ongoing expenditures to support the presence of the power increase.